John Besley, PA
Tue, 28 February 2023 at 1:38 am GMT
Notorious prisoner Charles Bronson has said he can “smell and taste freedom” ahead of a public parole hearing next month.
The Parole Board is set to decide whether one of the UK’s longest-serving prisoners should remain behind bars on Monday, March 6 and Wednesday, March 8.
Dubbed one of Britain’s most violent offenders, 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.
It is believed he is still being held at high-security HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.
In advance of his parole hearing, Bronson features in a new two-part documentary from Channel 4.
In part one of Bronson: Fit to be free?, which aired on Monday night, he can be seen video calling his son George Bamby from his maximum security cell.
On the prospect of his parole review, Bronson tells his son that he is not the same man he was when he first entered prison.
“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,” he said.
“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 am I still in prison for?”
Bronson previously said 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 continued: “The system have labelled me for so many years untameable, untreatable, unpredictable, dangerous, blah, blah, blah. I’ve had every label you can think of.
“But at the end of the day what people don’t realise, since George, my son, has come into my life, I’ve changed and… George has got me the best legal team in the world… I’m coming home, I’m definitely coming home.
“Cards on the table, do I sound like Britain’s most dangerous man? Come on. I’m 68-years-old and all I wanna do is get out there and enjoy my life, what’s left of it.”
Along with his son, Bronson credits art for helping him find his “true self” while in prison.
“My art now is my life,” he said.
“When I create a piece of art, I create a piece of myself. I’m more proud of my art than I am anything and what I’ve basically done… I’ve swapped (my) sawn-off shotgun for a sawn-off paintbrush. And it’s lovely, it’s beautiful.
“When I sit there and do a piece of art, it feels like I’m part of the human race, I feel lovely and happy. It gets rid of all my frustrations and my tension and my madness. I’m an artist and people have got to start believing it and seeing it.”