Charles Bronson – who began his attempt at freedom during a parole hearing yesterday – has spent nearly 50 years behind bars following a string of convictions both inside and outside prison.
The man who has been dubbed ‘Britain’s most dangerous prisoner’ indulged in petty crime from a young age and spent time in juvenile detention, but began his first stint in prison in 1974 at the age of 22 when he was seven years old. jailed for armed robbery.
The years that followed began what would become a familiar pattern – with Bronson continually having years added to his original sentence due to his uncontrollable violence behind bars.
While at Walton Gaol – now HMP Liverpool – he randomly attacked two prisoners and was sent to Hull in 1975.
In the following years, Bronson continued to assault other inmates, adding months to his sentence and moving between prisons.
Charles Bronson yesterday at his parole hearing – the second in the UK to be held in public
The man dubbed ‘Britain’s most dangerous prisoner’ has been guilty of petty crime from a young age
At HMP Wandsworth, he attempted to poison another inmate, which led to his being sent to Parkhurst’s mental institution, where he befriended the infamous Kray twins.
He would describe the pair, who ruled the East End of London with their gang in the 1950s and 1960s, as ‘the best two lads I ever met’.
Long criminal history of ‘Britain’s most violent prisoner’
1974: Bronson’s first conviction at age 22. He was sentenced to seven years in prison for theft, aggravated burglary, 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 robbing a jewelry store.
1992: He was released, but was sentenced weeks later to eight years in prison for intent to rob.
He has since been behind bars for violent crimes committed while in custody.
1994: He received seven years for false imprisonment and blackmail, then in 1997 he took hostage a deputy prison warden, staff and three prisoners, for which he received five years.
1999: He held an art teacher hostage for three days and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of three years, which expired in 2003.
2014: He was further sentenced to three years for assaulting a prison warden.
Once again, he continued to attack other inmates, threaten police officers, take hostages and even attempt suicide as he was transferred from prison to prison.
In 1982 he staged a rooftop protest in Broadmoor, removing tiles from the top of the building. He took part in a number of protests over the years, causing hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage.
He was finally released in 1987 and began boxing in the East End of London, changing his name to Charles Bronson after the actor.
After only 69 days of freedom, he was again sentenced to seven years in 1988 for armed robbery.
In 1989, he created a spear from a broken bottle and a broom handle and went on a rampage naked.
He was released three years later – this time for 53 days out of jail. He was arrested for conspiracy to rob.
In 1993, he took a librarian hostage and asked the police to provide him with a cup of tea, a helicopter and a blow-up doll.
Three years later, he took two Iraqi prisoners hostage in Belmarsh and demanded a plane, submachine guns and ice from police negotiators before releasing them.
He was given a life sentence in 1999 for taking Phil Danielson hostage and vandalizing the prison during a 44-hour siege.
In 2001, he married Fatema Saira Rehman, converted to Islam and demanded to be known as Charles Ali Ahmed. After they divorced four years later, he renounced religion.
In 2014 he changed his name to Charles Salvador after Salvador Dali – his favorite artist.
Bronson met a new pen pal, the soap opera actress Paula Williamson, in 2016, and Bronson later proposed to her in 2017 by bringing her a version of the Frank Sinatra classic My Way from a prison phone booth.
Wearing a black suit, white shirt and dark glasses, he told the panel, “I’ve had more porridge than Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” I’m done with it’
Bronson has repeatedly added years to his sentences for violence behind bars. He is seen here leaving the Supreme Court in London on May 3, 2001
Bronson has been named Britain’s most dangerous prisoner
They got married in November 2017 and walked down the aisle to the Death March. Their marriage was annulled in June 2019.
She was found dead at her home in Sneyd Green in her bedroom in July of that year after taking drink and drugs.
In total, Bronson has held hostage in ten prison sieges and attacked at least 20 prison guards.
At his hearing yesterday, he insisted he is now a “man of peace” and asked to be released for the sake of his 95-year-old mother, whom he called “the Duchess.”
Wearing a black suit, white shirt and dark glasses, he told the panel, “I’ve had more porridge than Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” I’m done with it.
‘I’ve been naughty. I’ve been an activist. I’ve been on prison rooftops and I loved everyone.
“I protested the brutality.
“I’ve had eleven hostages. Am I sorry?
‘Maybe. Would I do it again? Absolutely not.’
He described an epiphany becoming an artist behind bars when an ex-prison officer approached him while he was in solitary confinement at HMP Wakefield and handed him “a stack of paper, some crayons and some pencils and said, ‘Why don’t you do something positive and creative?”
Brinson memorably described the infamous Kray twins as “the best two guys I’ve ever met”
In all, Bronson took ten prison sieges hostage and assaulted at least twenty prison guards
“I’m a born-again artist now and that’s up to him,” he said, telling the panel he wants to be released so he can “go home and live a good honest life with my art.”
He told the panel that his pictures now sell for £2,000 each and that every week he makes a piece for charities, including Macmillan nurses, which is auctioned.
“I’ve raised thousands and thousands of pounds for charities,” he said.
He told the panel he has not had a trial in prison since September 2018 when he exposed his penis to his then-wife during a visit.
But he insisted he had given up on violence, telling the panel he “learned how to switch off with deep breaths” while listening to birdsong in his cell, rather than resorting to violence in stressful situations.
‘I’m done now. I am a relaxed man. I go out with a bus pass. I know if I do anything again I will die in prison and never get out,” he added.
He insists he has now given up on violence, telling the panel he has “learned how to switch off with a deep breath”
‘I’m done now. I am a relaxed man. I go out with a bus pass. I know if I do anything again I will die in prison and never get out,” he added. He is pictured in 2004