Britain’s most notorious inmate, Charles Bronson, has said he can “taste freedom” ahead of his public parole hearing next week.
The Parole Board is expected to make a decision on whether Bronson, one of the UK’s longest serving prisoners, should be released.
Bronson, who now goes by the name Charles Salvador after his artist hero Salvador Dalí, was jailed for seven years for armed robbery in 1974 and, although given two brief stints of freedom, has been in prison for nearly 50 years due to its repeated violence within. prison, mainly towards prison staff.
He has been repeatedly denied parole because he was seen as a threat to the public.
Bronson is currently believed to be being held at HMP Woodhill maximum security prison in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.
He will appear in a new two-part Channel 4 documentary before his fate is determined in two hearings on 6 and 8 March.
In the first part of Bronson: Fit to be Free? which aired on Monday night, he is seen calling his son, George, from his cell, telling him: “I have a horrible, nasty, vicious, violent past (but) I’ve never killed anyone, I’ve never hurt anyone.” a woman, never hurt a child.
“I’m focused, I’m calm, I can actually smell and taste freedom like I’ve never, ever done in (my) life.
“I am against crime, against violence. Why the hell am I still in prison?”
‘I’m definitely coming home’
Bronson has held 11 hostages in nine different sieges, with governors, doctors, staff and his own lawyer among the victims.
He was given a discretionary life sentence in 2000 with a minimum sentence of four years for holding a prison teacher hostage at HMP Hull for 44 hours.
Since then, the Parole Board has refused to order his release.
Bronson said in the documentary: “The system has labeled me for so many years as indomitable, intractable, unpredictable, dangerous… I’ve had every label you can think of.
“But at the end of the day what people don’t realize, since George, my son, has come into my life, I have changed and…George has gotten 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 the most dangerous man in Britain? Come on.
“I’m 68 years old and all I want to do is go out and enjoy my fucking life, what’s left of it.”
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‘I have changed the sawed-off shotgun for the brush’
Along with his son, Bronson credits his passion for art with helping him find his “true self.”
“My art is now my life,” he said. “When I create a work of art, I create a part of myself.
“I’m more proud of my art than anything else and what I’ve basically done… I traded (my) sawed-off shotgun for a sawed-off brush. And it’s lovely, it’s beautiful.
“When I sit there and make a piece of art, I feel 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 to start believing it and seeing it.”
Bronson earlier this month released an art exhibit in hopes of boosting his parole offer.
Hundreds of his cartoonish drawings, many of which depict the prisoner’s experience over decades behind bars, have gone on display in east London.
Artist and curator Oliver Hammond said: “If we can show Charlie really wants out of prison to work on his art, there’s definitely a good chance this could help him with his parole.”