Swearing and frustration as Charles Bronson bids for freedom again

TalkTV's Oliver Whitfield-Miocic reports from the Royal Courts of Justice

It was just gone 10am in court 76 at the Royal Courts of Justice that one of Britain’s most notorious criminals appeared via a video link from HMP Woodhill.

Charles Bronson, with his distinctive moustache, bald head and dark sunglasses was sitting next to his lawyer.

Then the swearing started.

“Oh fuck it,” said Bronson, who now calls himself Charles Salvador, after he spilt a carton of orange juice.

Replying to the bemused chairman of the panel, he said: “Well I ain’t pissed myself,” as he stood up to wipe away the liquid.

Bronson's Prison Offender Manager was the first to address the panel but at one point struggled to respond to one of the questions. The 70-year-old criminal by his side, who has been locked away for decades quipped: "We'll be here all fucking day."

The prison staff member was subsequently asked if Bronson had tried to gamble on football through a third party. “We all love a bet Guv, come on,” came Bronson's response.

We then got an insight into what life has been like inside prison. Bronson is kept in his cell for 23 hours every day due to “staff shortages” but is offered one hour of daily exercise.

Bronson has turned his hand to art and sells his works online. The prison provides his art materials and he likes listening to the radio.

He sometimes replies to letters he receives but doesn’t always have time to respond: “Bloody hell, I can’t reply to all of them,” he said.

The panel heard he has been incarcerated almost continuously for 48 year after he was arrested in 1974 for armed robbery. He has remained in various prisons after repeated offences whilst behind bars.

In 1994 he had seven years added for false imprisonment, then five years added in 1997 after taking four people hostage. In 2014 he assaulted a prison governor.

This is the eighth time he has applied for parole. Until recently, parole hearings were held behind closed doors, so this is only the second time a hearing has been held in public in the UK.

Bronson wants the panel to grant him freedom or to move him to a more open prison. Evidence will be heard today and on Wednesday before a closed session on Friday. A decision will be made in three weeks.

Speaking on a podcast in 2021, Bronson said he wants to live in a six-berth caravan near the sea and do charity work if he is released.

If he can control his temper, and his language, this parole hearing could be his best shot yet, but the freedom he is longing for is by no means guaranteed.