Why Charles Bronson has been in prison for so long after being jailed for robbery
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After nearly half a century behind bars, Charles Bronson has had his latest request for parole denied.
But why has Britain’s so-called ‘most dangerous prisoner’ spent so many years in prison?
It’s a strange tale of armed robbery, naked protests and blackmail.
Bronson began his incarceration back in 1974, when he was jailed for seven years for armed robbery and aggravated assault under his birth name Michael Gordon Peterson.
Though the sentence was fairly standard, the notorious prisoner wasn’t released due to his increasing violence behind bars, which added years to his sentence.
Just a year later, he attacked two inmates at Walton Gaol, now HMP Liverpool, and was sent to Hull.
There he assaulted several others, in 1978 and 1985, meaning his sentence was extended.
Around this time, Bronson was moved to various institutes in a desperate bid to curb his violent behaviour.
However, he was released in 1987 having spent over 14 years at his Majesty’s pleasure.
Despite this, he had barely two months of freedom and was back inside after just 69 days after he was involved in a robbery at a jeweller.
From here, his violence would only escalate as he served another seven-year sentence.
During this time, he attempted to poison another prison and was transferred from HMP Wandsworth to the Parkhurst psychiatric facility.
It was here that he met the infamous Kray twins, who had run London’s underworld in the early fifties and sixties.
Though they had a fearsome reputation, Bronson describes the notorious gangsters as ‘the best two guys I've ever met’.
His time at the psychiatric facility would do nothing to quell his violence though, as he would shortly become one of the most violent prisoners in Britain.
Having previously staged a rooftop protest at Broadmoor prison in 1982, Bronson has held 11 people hostage on nine different occasions.
It was here that he earned the reputation of Britain’s ‘most dangerous prisoner’ and changed his name to Charles Bronson after the A-List actor.
Then in 1989, he went on his infamous naked prison riot after using a broken broom and bottle to create a make-shift spear.
Although he was briefly released in 1992, he was quickly imprisoned for intent to rob.
After this, he took a prison librarian hostage and made a list of strange demands from police, including a helicopter, an inflatable doll and a cuppa.
Similarly, in 1996, he took two Iraqi inmates hostage at Belmarsh and decided to asks for a submachine 5,000 rounds of ammunition and an axe during the incident.
He even took a deputy prison officer hostage, along with three inmates and staff members in 1997 – adding another five years to his sentence.
Bronson also served a life sentence after holding an art teacher captive for over 44 hours, back in 1999.
After years of offences, Bronson has calmed down in recent years as he hopes to be reunited with his now 95-year-old mother.
Distancing himself from his life of crime, which was made into a film with Tom Hardy in 2008, the prisoner is now focusing on his art.
The notorious inmate has sold several works for over £2,000, with some pieces being auctioned for charities like Macmillan.
He has also changed his name to Charles Salvador, after the artist Dali, who is one of his favourite artists.
At his latest hearing, he told the court: “I've had more porridge than Goldilocks and the three bears. I've had enough of it.”
Bronson continued, saying: “I’m ready now. I'm a chilled-out man. I'll be going out with a bus pass. I know that if I do anything again I'll die in prison and I'll never get out.”
However, he did acknowledge his past crimes, saying: “I've been naughty. I've been an activist. I've been up on prison roofs and I loved every one.”
When asked if he was sorry, he told the panel: “Maybe. Would I do it again? Definitely not.”