John Tilsley

In the Shadow of Papillon
  • In the Shadow of Papillon

  • Following the collapse of his business and the loss of his home, Frank Kane made a catastrophic decision. In desperation, he agreed to smuggle cocaine out of Venezuela. Almost inevitably, he and his girlfriend, Sam, were caught.

    The price they paid was a ten-year sentence in the hell of the overcrowded Venezuelan prison system, notorious for corruption and abuse, and rife with weapons and gangs. At one point, Frank was held in the remote El Dorado prison, better known for being the one-time home of Henri Charrière, or Papillon. He witnessed countless murders as gang leaders fought for power, and he had to become as ruthless as his fellow inmates in order to survive. In an attempt to dull the reality of the horrendous conditions, he succumbed to drugs.

    After enduring years of systematic beatings by the guards and attempts on his life by inmates, Frank suffered more than one breakdown. He lost over four stone and was riddled with disease, but somehow he found the strength within himself to survive and was eventually released in 2004 after serving over seven years of his sentence. During the long walk back from hell, Frank decided to tell his story.

Frank Kane was born in Cheshire in 1953. After many years working in the electrical industry, he started his own electrical wholesale business, which collapsed after 12 years of very successful trading. Since his release from prison, Frank is now settled and working as a lorry driver. John Tilsley is also the author of Be a Good Boy, Johnny and Nevada Blue. He lives in Cheshire.

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