Charles Bronson: Parole hearing for Britain’s most notorious prisoner

Charles Bronson 1992
Charles Bronson during some time out from prison in 1992

Britain’s most notorious prisoner Charles Bronson is launching a bid for freedom at a public parole hearing.

Bronson, now known as Charles Salvador and appearing with a shaven head, cuts an imposing figure in his dark suit and familiar round-framed sunglasses as he faces the panel across a small desk flanked by his solicitor.

The 70-year-old is arguing that after nearly half a century in jail, most of it in solitary confinement, he is safe to be released.

Asked if he will be giving evidence, he replied in his trademark rumbling voice: “Oh yes… yes certainly.”

When the hearing was told that Bronson had tried to get someone outside prison to place a bet for him, he told the panel: “We all love a bet, guv, come on.”

He then repeatedly said: “I’m getting bored of this”, objecting to his legal representative asking for a break before he gave evidence. Bronson could be heard asking the lawyer “Can’t you just go yourself?”, before telling the chairman: “He just wants the toilet.”

Bronson muttered “f****** hell” under his breath as the review was told that 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.

He also cast doubt on the panel’s assertion they have not seen a recent documentary about him, saying: “I find that hard to believe.”

After spilling a carton of juice he reassured the panel: “Don’t worry, I ain’t p***** meself.”

‘There’s nothing better than wrapping a governor up like a Christmas turkey’

Bronson, who has taken hostages on nine different occasions while in prison, said: “I was a horrible person and I couldn’t stop taking hostages.

“I went through a phase, I couldn’t help taking hostages. I was battling against the system … it was my way of getting back.

“There’s nothing better than wrapping a governor up like a Christmas turkey.”

Referring to the prison art teacher he took hostage for three days in 2014, Bronson said he told him: “You’ve been my best hostage, you’re the only one who hasn’t s*** himself.”

Read more:
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Bronson sent Sky News a postcard from his prison cell
Bronson sent Sky News a postcard from his prison cell


The chairman of the Parole Board panel said Bronson has spent most of the last 48 years behind bars, apart from two brief periods of freedom where he reoffended.

As he listened to evidence Bronson shifted agitatedly in his seat, sighing frequently.

Bronson, already impatient, said “we’ll be here all f****** day” as the prison offender manager struggled to find information about an alleged attempted 2018 assault against a prison governor at HMP Frankland over a withheld photo of his mother.

His prison offender manager said since she began working with him there have been documented threats against prison staff, but they have “not resulted in violence”.

The panel of parole judges heard there are 500 people on a mailing list who write to Bronson in jail, but he does not always reply. “Bloody hell, I can’t reply to all of them,” he interjected.

‘My mum’s last dream on this planet’

In a plea on behalf of his mother, now aged 95 and who he referred to as “my old duchess,” Bronson said: “You people have got the power to let me out, that’s my mum’s last dream on this planet, to see her son outside, doing well, making an honest living with my art, as you know I’m anti-crime.”

Dubbed one of Britain’s most violent offenders, Bronson previously told how he was first sent to jail in 1968 and has held 11 hostages in nine different sieges – with victims including governors, doctors, staff and on one occasion his own solicitor.

He was sentenced in 2000 to a discretionary life term with a minimum of four years for taking a prison teacher at HMP Hull hostage for 44 hours.

Since then the Parole Board has repeatedly refused to direct his release.

‘Bronson was a nasty b******’

In 2014 Bronson decided to change his last name to Salvador – which he said means man of peace – after the artist Salvador Dali.

“Bronson was a nasty b******,” he said. “I wasn’t a nice person and I didn’t like him. Salvador is a man of peace. I feel peaceful.”

He told the hearing he is “almost an angel now” compared to his old self and has changed his ways, adding there would be no more “rumbles” behind bars.

Describing one incident, in which the parole review heard he stripped naked and “greased up”, he said: “I took half a tub of Lurpak with me, stripped off and had the rumble of my life. It was f****** brilliant.”

‘I have had more porridge than Goldilocks and the Three Bears’

In his opening statement, 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.”

Bronson describes himself as ‘retired prison activist’

Bronson told the parole judges he was a “retired prison activist” but deserved much of his time behind bars, adding: “Out of the 50 years I’ve been in prison, I have probably deserved a good 35 years of it… but I have been naughty. Not ‘naughty, naughty’, but naughty.”

Describing how he had ended up on prison roofs in protest in the past, he said: “I enjoyed every f****** one of them.”

He said he had slept in “cages” and “boxes”, and spent “40 years of my life in solitary”.

He added: “Don’t think I’m wearing these glasses for sinister reasons. My eyes are blown away with the light” as he discussed how being in solitary confinement made his eyes sensitive to light.

The hearing is taking place over three days this week. The Parole Board will make its decision on whether he should remain behind bars at a later date.

Source:  Sky News

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