Charles Bronson: notorious prisoner has PTSD after ‘brutal and unacceptable’ treatment, psychologist says
Bronson, one of the UK’s longest-serving prisoners, is currently in the process of a parole hearing to decide whether he should remain behind bars
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Bronson, 70, is in the middle of the hearing which will decide whether he is released from prison after being given a discretionary life sentence with a minimum of four years in 2000. Prior to this sentencing, Bronson spent most of his life in and out of prison for offences such as thefts, hostage-takings and violent crimes.
An independent psychologist has now said that Bronson, whose real name is Michael Peterson, was subjected to stressful situations during his time in prison, which has resulted in mild symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder. She added: “He feels like the whole system is about humiliating and degrading him.”
Bronson is also said to have become “suspicious” about the motives of others, as well as holding “anti-authoritarian views”. The parole hearing has been taking place in HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes, with members of the public and press able to watch the parole proceedings via a livestream at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.
The notorious prisoner, who has since changed his name to Charles Salvador, told the three unidentified parole judges that he had channelled his efforts into his artwork. He invited the parole board members to view his art pieces, describing each one as a “piece of me”.
Bronson found violence ‘cathartic in the past’
The psychologist in the case commented on his “romanticised” view of violent incidents he was involved in in the past. She also said that violent outbursts towards prison staff were a result of a dislike of authority figures, but that this did not translate into a threat to the wider public.
She said: “He found violence cathartic in the past. I think now what he does is he tends to weigh up the pros and cons of violence to himself, that is an effective strategy.
“I can imagine him telling somebody to ‘eff off’ quite frankly… but it’s whether that equates to serious harm.”
She added: “I believe that Mr Salvador [Bronson] poses less of a risk in a community environment than in a prison environment, and I stand by that assessment. Of course, I’m talking about a highly supportive community environment and I’m talking about a gradual move into a community environment.”
Upon her evidence drawing to a close on the second day of the three-day parole hearing, Bronson is said to have described the psychologist’s testimony as “the best thing I’ve ever heard”. He added that the parole process was “like being on The Apprentice with Lord Sugar”.
The parole hearing is set to continue for its third and final day on Friday (10 March), with the final hearing to take place behind closed doors. The parole board will consider his case and make a decision at a later date.