Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
Wednesday, 16 February, 2000, 14:03 GMT
Charles Bronson tells of prison 'hell'

Woodhill Prison, Bucks Bronson described his life in hell at Woodhill Prison, Bucks

High security prisoner Charles Bronson, who has spent more than a quarter of a century in prison, has described his "life in hell" to a jury.

Bronson, 47, was giving evidence in the third day of a trial at Luton Crown Court.

Charles Bronson Category A prisoner Charles Bronson
Bronson is accused of taking teacher Phil Danielson hostage during a siege at Hull prison in January 1999. He also faces charges of criminal damage.

He denies both allegations.

Bronson told jurors that although he was entitled to be represented by a barrister, he had opted to defend himself because he did not "trust them."

Bronson was cleared of assaulting Mr Danielson, 37, and making threats to kill after Judge Ronald Moss ruled on Tuesday that there was insufficient evidence.

Bronson told the court he had taken Mr Danielson, 37, hostage because he had criticised a poster he had drawn about Aids.


He told the jury he wanted them to know the truth about his life in prison.

"I first came into prison in 1974 when I was 21," Bronson said. "I have been in prison ever since barring approximately three months.

"We are talking about 26 years I have served. Twenty-two years of that I have served in solitary confinement. Isolated. On my own. No contacts. Think about that."

I am a messed up person
Prisoner Charles Bronson
He said he felt he had become dehumanised and suffered panic attacks when he met people.

"I suffer with what you call post-traumatic stress disorder. I am a messed-up person."

Bronson is serving his sentence at Woodhill Prison near Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.

He gave the jury graphic details of his living arrangements, sleeping on a concrete slab raised just off the floor, in a 12ft by 9ft cell.

Living in a sewer

"I live in that room 23 hours of a 24-hour day," he said. "I am not living, I am just existing."

He told the jury how every time his door is opened there are never less than six prison officers to feed him with plastic cutlery.

"Everything is plastic," he said.

Bronson said he was also suffering because his cell has a bullet-proof window, which he cannot open.

"When I wake up every morning I wake up with a headache from lack of air," he said. "Unnatural light. My eyes hurt.

"The first thing I do every morning when I wake up is go over to that window and stick my lips on the grille and suck in my air."

He described life in his cell like living in a sewer.

"Everything is concrete, razor wire. I am living in hell. I hope you understand all that."

The case continues.
Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console

See also:
15 Feb 00 |  UK
Charles Bronson cleared of two charges
Links to other UK stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories