Charles Bronson, dubbed one of Britain’s most notorious prisoners, will today make a bid for freedom at a public parole board hearing after almost 50 years in prison.
The hearing is scheduled to take place in public today, Monday 6 March and on Wednesday 8 March at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. The third and final day of the hearing will take place behind closed doors on Friday.
His lawyers are expected to argue that it’s been eight years since his last conviction and four years since an internal prison adjudication for violence.
Bronson is classed as a Category A prisoner and is being held in the close supervision centre (CSC) at Woodhill Prison near Milton Keynes. He is currently assessed as a medium risk to staff and fellow inmates.
Why is Charles Bronson in prison?
Bronson was jailed for armed robbery in 1974. He was born Michael Peterson in Luton in 1952 and went to prison on this first sentence under that name. His original sentence was seven years, but was extended for attacks on prison guards and fellow inmates he committed.
He was first released in 1987 and the former bare-knuckle boxer changed his name to Charles Bronson. It was only a year before he was convicted of planning another robbery.
Further attacks on prisoners and guards, as well as a number of instances in which he took people hostage, eventually resulted in Bronson’s sentence being upgraded to life imprisonment.
In 1975, he attacked a fellow prisoner with a glass jug and in 1985 carried out a three-day rooftop protest.
In 1994, Bronson held a prison librarian hostage and demanded an inflatable doll, a helicopter and a cup of tea as ransom. He took three inmates hostage at London’s Belmarsh Prison in 1998.
Then in 1999, Bronson held art teacher Phil Danielson hostage for two days in Hull prison. Bronson was given a life sentence, with a minimum term of three years. But subsequent violent episodes meant he was not released.
In 2014, his jail term was extended by two years for holding a prison governor in a headlock at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes.
One of his previous bids for parole in 2017 was denied when he was a prisoner at HMP Wakefield in West Yorkshire.
In 2020, Bronson won a court case arguing for the public parole hearing, which is taking place this week.
What has Charles Bronson said?
In a Channel 4 documentary which aired last week, Bronson who now calls himself Charles Salvador after the artist Salvador Dali, he said he can “smell and taste freedom” ahead of the parole hearing.
During the programme, he is seen video calling his son George Bamby from his maximum security cell, in Milton Keynes.
Discussing the prospect of his parole review, Bronson insisted he had reformed, talked about how he has turned to art while behind bars and hopes to be released so he can enjoy “what’s left” of his life.
“I’ve got a horrible, nasty, vicious, violent past (but) I’ve never killed anyone, I’ve never harmed a woman, never harmed a child,” he said.
“I’m focused, I’m settled, I can actually smell and taste freedom like I’ve never, ever done in (my) life. I’m now anti-crime, anti-violent.
“What the f*** am I still in prison for?”