I’ve had more porridge than Goldilocks and the three bears ...I’m sick of it
UK’s most notorious prisoner Bronson, 70, pleads for release
HE is one of Britain’s longestserving inmates, with a history of shocking violence, hostage-taking and a penchant for smearing himself in butter before attacking prison officers.
By his own admission, Charles Bronson was ‘born to have a rumble’ and, of the 48 years he has spent behind bars, he admits he deserved ‘a good 35 of them’.
But at 70 years old, Britain’s most notorious prisoner has been given his best chance of freedom in decades, as he yesterday became the second inmate in UK legal history to present his case at a public parole hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice.
Bronson, wearing a black suit and dark sunglasses, told the panel he had ‘eaten more porridge than Goldilocks and the three bears, and I’m sick of it’.
‘I’ve had enough and I want to go home,’ he said.
‘Of the 50 years I have been in prison I have probably deserved a good 35 of it, because I have been very naughty.
‘Not naughty-naughty but just naughty. I have had 11 hostages. I am not proud of it but I am not ashamed of it.’
He told how he had slept in ‘cages’ and ‘ boxes’, and spent
‘40 years of my life in solitary’, and having said in the past prison wings were ‘cold, empty and f****** brutal’, now things were much more comfortable.
He told the panel via video link from HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes: ‘I’ve got a telly in my cell, I can’t even believe it.’
But he insisted: ‘I don’t want my cell to be a furnished bedsit ... unfortunately prison today is full of fairies.’ Describing himself as a ‘retired prison activist’, Bronson, real name Michael Peterson, begged the panel to release him for the sake of his 95-year-old mother, Eira, whose ‘dream’ he said was to see her son out ‘making a good honest living with my art’.
He changed his name again to Charles Salvador in 2014, as ‘Salvador means man of peace’, and argued he was ready for a quiet life living as an artist.
A prison offender manager, however, argued that Bronson, who is locked in a cell for 23 hours a day, lacked the skills to cope with life outside prison.
Bronson, who was first convicted in 1974 for armed robbery, said his violent outbursts in jail were due to him battling the system, though he did concede he enjoyed starting riots, adding: ‘There’s nothing better than wrapping a governor up like a Christmas turkey.’
But Bronson accepted he had been a ‘ horrible person’ who ‘could not stop taking hostages’. Perhaps the most shocking example was the terrifying two-day ordeal suffered by art teacher Phil Danielson in Hull jail in 1999, for which Bronson received a life sentence.
Bronson said he kidnapped Mr Danielson after the teacher criticised a poster he designed to be hung in jail advising gay inmates to ‘stick with just one partner because you might get Aids’.
He said he tied a knife snatched from the kitchen to a snooker cue for a makeshift spear, kidnapped Mr Danielson, then wrapped a skipping rope around his neck and ‘walked him around the landings’. He told the terrified teacher: ‘You’ve been my best hostage, you’re the only one who hasn’t s*** himself.’
Bronson now wished he could take his former hostage for a cup of tea to apologise.
Bronson told the hearing he discovered art when a kindly prison officer at HMP Wakefield gave him pencils and paper.
He said he now donates pieces to charities, including Macmillan Cancer Support, who then auction the art for up to £2,000.
He added: ‘I am so proud of what I have done for Macmillan.’ Bronson also revealed he had been betting on football matches from prison for almost 50 years, and even won £1,500 via gambling last year.
He also told the panel that his signature round sunglasses were necessary as his eyes had been damaged by darkness during solitary confinement.
He admitted that he had enjoyed violence but insisted that he had mellowed.
‘I was born to have a rumble and lived to have a rumble,’ he confessed to the panel. Describing one fight with prison officers, Bronson told the panel: ‘I took half a tub of Lurpak with me, stripped off and had the
‘Could not stop taking hostages’
‘I was born to have a rumble’
rumble of my life. It was f****** brilliant.’ He added: ‘But I am 70 now, it can be a bit embarrassing for someone of my age to be like that. You have to grow up sooner or later. There will be no more rumbles.’
Bronson continued: ‘Give me a chance to prove to the public, to the police, to everybody, that I am just a normal geezer.’
The Parole Board will decide whether Bronson should be freed after three hearings this week. They continue tomorrow.