The Independent

Charles Bronson tells parole hearing he is ‘sick of prison’


More than 500 people send regular letters to Charles Bronson, his parole review has heard in a day full of bizarre revelation­s and expletives from the notorious prisoner.

The 70-year-old, who is one of the UK’s longest-serving prisoners and is dubbed one of Britain’s most violent offenders, appeared before a panel of parole judges yesterday as part of a

three-day hearing on whether he should remain behind bars. He is the second inmate in UK legal history to have his case heard in public after rules changed last year in a bid to remove the secrecy around the process.

The panel heard how he is locked in his cell for 23 hours a day, and is allowed to leave for just one hour for exercise and other activities due to prison staff shortages. He is in a unit of eight inmates, and has time out of his cell with three others, one of whom he does not like and avoids. As the judges were told that there are 500 people on a mailing list who write to Bronson in jail, the prisoner interjecte­d: “Bloody hell, I can’t reply to all of them.”

When asked if he wished to give evidence at the hearing, the 70year-old – who could be heard frequently swearing and sighing loudly – said: “Oh yes, certainly.” At one point he muttered “fucking hell” under his breath as the review heard how submission­s on behalf of justice secretary Dominic Raab had been delayed and could not be provided in advance of the proceeding­s to the parole board as a result.

A representa­tive for Mr Raab who was present at the hearing apologised for the delays. Bronson, who changed his surname to Salvador in 2014 after the artist Salvador Dali, was given 15

minutes to make an opening statement, to which he said: “I could fill 15 hours”, prompting the panel chair to reply: “That, privately, is my concern.” Bronson said: “First of all, it’s no secret I have had more porridge than Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and I’m sick of it. I’ve had enough of it, I want to go home.”

He told the panel that half of the 738-page dossier about him is “crap, absolute rubbish”, claiming to be “almost an angel now” compared with his old self and adding: “I have not walked on grass for over 30 years and I dream of walking on grass.” But he described himself as “born to have a rumble” and claimed that one of his victims, a prison governor left with post-traumatic stress disorder, “is an arsehole and will die an arsehole”.

Outlining Bronson’s criminal history as the hearing opened, the chairman of the Parole Board panel – who was not publicly named – said Bronson has spent most of the past 48 years behind bars, apart from two brief periods of freedom where he reoffended. His prison offender manager said they would worry that Bronson would be overwhelme­d in open conditions at a lower security prison, but that he has started learning breathing exercises and coping methods such as asking for time out in his cell in preparatio­n for any future move.

They said: “Charlie’s used to a lot of solitary time anyway. He doesn’t enjoy it … but he copes quite well. He has his exercises, he has his routines,” adding that he “kind of loses himself in his artwork” – something he has become known for while in jail. He “finds that he doesn’t ruminate as much as he used to overnight”, the prison worker said.

In a Channel 4 documentar­y broadcast last week, Bronson said he could “smell and taste freedom” ahead of the parole review. While the parole panel chair told the hearing that “the panel has not seen that documentar­y”, Bronson replied: “I find that hard to believe.” At one point during the hearing, Bronson, who had been sipping what appeared to be a small carton of juice through a straw, was seen briefly standing up and asking for a tissue. “I haven’t pissed myself,” he told the hearing as he placed the tissue under the juice carton and sat back down.

Amid long pauses, while the panel asked his prisoner offender manager questions, Bronson said: “We will be here all fucking day, won’t we?” The Parole Board will decide whether he should remain behind bars after the hearing, which is taking place over three days this week at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes and was watched by members of the public and press on a livestream from the Royal Courts of Justice. A decision is due at a later date.

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 ?? ’( PA) ?? The 70- year-old described himself as‘ born to have a rumble
’( PA) The 70- year-old described himself as‘ born to have a rumble
 ?? (PA) ?? Bronson claims he is ‘almost an angel’ compared to his past se l f
(PA) Bronson claims he is ‘almost an angel’ compared to his past se l f
 ?? (PA) ?? Bronson supporters outside the Royal Courts Of Justice
(PA) Bronson supporters outside the Royal Courts Of Justice

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