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Steve Richards, Charles Bronson's agent
"Charlie Bronson is not going to profit from this"
 real 28k

Brian Caton, Prison Officers Association
"It is bad for the victims and I do not think it is good for society"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 16 August, 2000, 12:51 GMT 13:51 UK
Prisoner releases hostage video
Charles Bronson
Charles Bronson: Long list of offences in prison
One of Britain's most notorious criminals has been criticised for releasing a commercial video which shows him holding a prison officer hostage.

Charles Bronson, dubbed the most dangerous man in Britain, has released the tape showing him taking education officer Philip Danielson hostage in Hull jail 18 months ago.

The 47-year-old, who changed his name by deed poll from Michael Peterson, was jailed for life in February for false imprisonment but he feels the sentence was unjust.

The Prison Officers Association has described the video release as "bad for society".

During Bronson's trial it emerged he had tied a leather skipping rope round the neck of Mr Danielson and carried a makeshift spear while holding him captive for 44 hours in January 1999.

'Let the public decide'

Bronson, who was originally jailed in 1974 for armed robbery, has spent more than a quarter of a century in prison after committing a string of offences on the "inside".

According to his manager, Steve Richards, Bronson has released the tape in an attempt to put across his side of the story.

Bronson's jail history
1974 armed robbery and wounding
1978 wounding with intent
1985 wounding
1985 criminal damage
1993 grievous bodily harm
1994 two instances of false imprisonment
1997 blackmail, threatening to kill
2000 false imprisonment
Mr Richards told BBC Radio 4's Today programme Bronson had every right to the footage because during his trial he conducted his own defence.

He said in releasing the footage of the siege involving Philip Danielson, Bronson was simply letting the public see what happened for themselves.

He said: "What Charlie is saying is 'let the public judge me on what happened.

"Let them [the public] see that Philip Danielson was not threatened and was not in any manner or form assaulted, and let them make up their minds whether I should have got a life sentence for that.'"

Brian Caton, general secretary of the Prison Officers Association, said the film fed Bronson's "strange ego" and his bank account.

'Traumatic times'

He told the BBC: "It is bad for the victims and I don't think it is good for society."

Mr Caton added: "The only people that should be viewing this are prison staff, who need to learn from the experience of the traumatic times people suffer when taken hostage.

"Society needs to recognise we should be aiming to tackle prisoners' problems and not feed them."

During his time behind bars, 22 years of which have been spent in solitary confinement, Bronson has served time in 120 different prisons, staged eight rooftop protests, assaulted more than 20 prison officers and caused 500,000 worth of damage to property.

He has taken hostages on 10 different occasions - one of whom he threatened to eat.

Mr Richards said he accepted Mr Danielson had been traumatised by the events of January 1999 but added: "We have to have some sympathy for Charles Bronson as a victim."

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