Charles Bronson releases a song from inside prison in 2021
Notorious prisoner Charles Bronson will make his latest bid for freedom at a parole hearing in public today. Bronson – who changed his surname to Salvador in 2014 after the artist Salvador Dali, has been in prison for much of the last 50 years, often spending time in solitary confinement or specialist units.
He is dubbed one of Britain’s most violent offenders and this week the Parole Board will decide whether he should remain behind bars.
The 70-year-old is the second inmate in UK legal history to have his case heard in public.
Bronson, who has married twice in prison, changed his name from Michael Peterson during a short stint in the outside world in the 1980s.
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.
Back in 2000, he was sentenced 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.
In a Channel 4 documentary which aired last week, 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, reportedly at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.
Talking about the prospect of his parole review, Bronson insisted he had reformed and said he has turned to art while behind bars and hopes to be released so he can enjoy “what’s left” of his life.
He said: “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.
“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?”
That said, Bronson doesn’t regret his violent actions. “You can’t go through life regretting your life,” he says.
“I used to run around with guns and I was violent, so I deserved to go to jail. But I don’t regret that because that was my life.”
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Bronson was the first prisoner to formally ask for a public hearing after rules changed last year in a bid to remove the secrecy around the parole process.
His lawyers are set to argue that it’s eight years since he was last convicted of an offence and four years since he has received an internal prison adjudication for violence.
Members of the public and the press will be able to observe the proceedings – which continue on Wednesday – via a live stream.
The third and final day of the hearing will take place behind closed doors at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Friday.
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