Charles Bronson can smell freedom as he faces public parole hearing tomorrow

One of Britain's so-called most violent inmates "can smell freedom" as his parole hearing begins tomorrow (Monday, March 6).

Charles Bronson, 70, has launched his eighth bid for freedom after spending the majority of the last 50 years behind bars, often in solitary confinement or mental health facilities.

The Parole Board will look at his case this week to determine whether he should be freed, and Bronson will become the second UK inmate to have his case heard in public.

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In the Channel 4 documentary Charles Bronson: Fit to be Freed?, Bronson 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 the f*** am I still in prison for?"

Bronson was first sent to jail in 1968 and has been in and out of prison ever since.

In 2000, he was handed a discretionary life term with a minimum of four years after he took a prison teacher hostage for 44 hours, one of 11 people to have suffered this fate at the hands of the criminal.

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Since then he has repeatedly pleaded his case to a Parole Board, who have so far refused to free him.

However, Bronson hopes that this time will be different and wants to "enjoy what's left" of his life.

In the new programme released last week, the serial offender was seen speaking to his son George Bamby via a video link from his maximum security prison, thought to be at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes.

Bronson was secretly recorded saying he had reformed, admitting: "I’ve got a horrible, nasty, vicious, violent past.

"I’ve never killed anyone, I’ve never harmed a woman, never harmed a child," he added.

The inmate now spends much of his time making artwork, some of which he has sold for prices of £700 to £30,000.

He even launched an exhibition last month in the hopes that it would bolster his case for parole.

Criminal forensic psychologist Kerry Daynes said the violent reoffending rate for prisoners over the age of 70 was zero – but was quick to add this didn't guarantee releasing Bronson was a safe bet.

"Charlie might be the exception to that rule," she said. "Anybody reading about Charlie's history was told to take a deep breath and think about how can this man move forward, who is capable of such violence and what does that mean for his future?"

Bronson was the first prisoner to formally ask for a public hearing, meaning the public and press will be able to watch the events unfold on Monday and Wednesday (March 6 and 8) via a live stream.

The final day of the hearing – Friday, March 10 – will be held in private, when Bronson's fate will be decided.


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