Charles Bronson has been subjected to “brutal and unacceptable” treatment behind bars, a psychologist said at his parole hearing today.
The notorious inmate, 70, was jailed for seven years in 1974 after being convicted of armed robbery and was eventually sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping prison teacher Phil Danielson in 1999.
On the second day of Bronson’s parole review, he heard that one of the UK’s longest-serving inmates has “anti-authoritarian views” and is “suspicious” of the motives of others.
Three probation judges, who have not been publicly named, are considering their case at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, as members of the press and the public watch the proceedings live from the Royal Courts of Justice in central London. .
An independent psychologist employed by Bronson’s legal team said at today’s hearing: “He feels like the whole system is about humiliating and demeaning him.”
Charles Bronson (seen Monday) is the second prisoner in UK legal history to have his parole hearing held in public after the rules changed last year.
The notorious prisoner, 70, was jailed for seven years in 1974 after being convicted of armed robbery and was eventually sentenced to life in prison for kidnapping teacher Phil Danielson in 1999.
Wearing a black T-shirt with white writing and his trademark round dark glasses, Bronson could be seen rocking his chair back and forth as the psychologist gave testimony.
She said the 70-year-old man has mild symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, in part due to “brutal and unacceptable treatment” while in the prison system.
Long criminal history of ‘Britain’s most violent prisoner’
1974: Bronson’s first conviction at age 22. He was jailed for seven years for robbery, aggravated robbery, assault with intent to rob, and possession of a firearm.
He was convicted of numerous assaults behind bars in 1975, 1978, and 1985, which led to his sentence being extended.
1987: He was released from prison at the age of 34.
1988: After 69 days he was back in prison, sentenced to seven years for robbery at a jewelry store.
1992: He was released, but weeks later he was imprisoned for eight years for attempted robbery.
He has been behind bars ever since for violent crimes committed while in custody.
1994: He was given seven years for false imprisonment and blackmail, then in 1997 he took hostage a deputy prison warden, staff and three inmates for which he received five years.
1999: He took an art teacher hostage for three days and was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of three years which expired in 2003.
2014: He was also sentenced to three years for assaulting the director of a prison.
Bronson, whose real name is Michael Peterson, has previously been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder, is “naturally somewhat mistrustful of other people’s motives” and has “anti-authoritarian views”, the psychologist added.
Once considered one of Britain’s most violent criminals, Bronson has spent the better part of the last 48 years behind bars, apart from two brief periods of freedom during which he re-offended, for a series of robberies, firearms and violent crimes, including 11 hostage takings in nine different sieges. The victims included governors, doctors, staff and, on one occasion, his own lawyer.
He was handed a discretionary life sentence with a minimum term of four years in 2000 for holding a prison teacher hostage at HMP Hull for 44 hours. Since then, the Parole Board has repeatedly refused to order his release.
Bronson, who changed his surname to Salvador in 2014, is the second inmate in UK legal history to have his case heard in public after the rules changed last year in a bid to remove secrecy around the process. .
The third and final day of the proceedings will take place behind closed doors on Friday so that confidential details can be discussed.
The Parole Board will consider whether he should remain behind bars after the hearing, with a decision due at a later date.
At the first hearing on Monday, he told the panel that he had “ate 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’ve been in prison I’ve probably deserved a good 35, because I’ve been so naughty.
‘Not naughty-naughty but just naughty. I’ve had 11 hostages. I’m not proud of it, but I’m not ashamed of it either.’
He recounted how he had slept in ‘cages’ and ‘boxes’, and spent ’40 years of my life in solitary’, saying that in the past the prison wings were ‘cold, empty and fucking brutal’. , now things were much more comfortable.
But he insisted: ‘I don’t want my cell to be a furnished dormitory…unfortunately, today’s prison is full of fairies.’
Bronson has repeatedly had years added to his sentences due to violence behind bars. He is seen here leaving the High Court in London on May 3, 2001.
Brinson memorably described the notorious Kray twins as “the two best guys I’ve ever met.”
Bronson, real name Michael Peterson, described himself as a ‘retired prison activist’ and pleaded with the panel to release him for the sake of his 95-year-old mother, Eira, whose ‘dream’, he said, was see your son come out. earning an honest living with my art’.
He changed his name again to Charles Salvador in 2014, as ‘Salvador means man of peace’, arguing that he was ready for a quiet life as an artist.
However, a prison inmate manager argued that Bronson, who is locked in a cell for 23 hours a day, lacked the skills to cope with life outside of prison.
Bronson said his violent outbursts in jail were due to his fighting the establishment, though he admitted he enjoyed starting riots, adding: “There’s nothing better than wrapping a governor like a Christmas turkey.”
But Bronson accepted that he had been a “horrible person” who “couldn’t stop taking hostages.” Perhaps the most shocking example was the terrifying two-day trial art teacher Phil Danielson underwent at HMP Hull in 1999, for which Bronson received a life sentence.
Bronson said he kidnapped Mr. Danielson after the teacher criticized a sign he designed to hang in the jail advising gay inmates to “stay with one partner because you could get AIDS.”
He said he tied a stolen kitchen knife to a pool cue for a makeshift spear, kidnapped Mr. Danielson, then wrapped a rope around his neck and “walked him up and down the landings.” He told the terrified professor: ‘You’ve been my best hostage, you’re the only one who hasn’t shit’.
Bronson now wished he could take his former hostage out for a cup of tea to apologize.
In all, Bronson has taken hostages in ten prison sieges and has attacked at least 20 corrections officers.
Bronson told the hearing that he discovered the art when a kind prison officer from HMP Wakefield gave him pencils and paper.
He said he now donates pieces to charities, including Macmillan Cancer Support, which then auctions off the art for up to £2,000.
He added: “I am very proud of what I have done for Macmillan.” Bronson also revealed that he had been betting on football matches from prison for almost 50 years, and even won £1,500 gambling last year.
He also told the panel that his trademark round sunglasses were necessary as his eyes had been damaged by the darkness during solitary confinement.
He admitted that he had enjoyed the violence, but insisted that it had been softened.
“I was born to have a fight and I lived to have a fight,” he told the panel. Describing a fight with prison officers, Bronson told the panel: ‘I took half a tub of Lurpak with me, stripped down and had the fight of my life. It was fucking brilliant. He added: “But I’m 70 now, it can be a bit embarrassing for someone my age to be like that.” You have to grow up sooner or later. There will be no more noise.
Bronson continued: “Give me a chance to show the public, the police, everybody, that I’m just a normal guy.”