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Last Updated: Friday, 2 April, 2004, 11:51 GMT 12:51 UK
Notorious prisoner loses appeal
Charles Bronson
Bronson has spent almost 30 years in jail
One of Britain's most violent prisoners has lost his appeal against conviction.

Charles Bronson, 51, was jailed for life four years ago for taking teacher Phil Danielson hostage during a siege at Hull prison in January 1999.

The judges also rejected the Luton man's appeal against the life sentence for the hostage offence.

But he was given a ray of hope when the presiding judge said in the light of his increasing age and marriage he may now be a "rather different" person.

Bronson argued he had been afraid of being transferred to Woodhill maximum security prison, in Milton Keynes, where he thought he would be tortured.

Parole matter

But Lord Justice Rose told him his sentence was correct and should stand.

However, the judge also said Bronson had acted "calmly and with dignity" throughout the appeal hearing and said a proper assessment of those and other relevant matters was "not for us but for the parole board".

Bronson gave a thumbs-down sign to supporters in court when he heard he had lost his appeal and shouted: "Thanks for coming, life goes on, no problem."

Bronson, who has now become a Muslim and changed his name to Ali Ahmed, has spent nearly three decades in prison after being jailed originally in 1975 for armed robbery.

The Court of Appeal had granted Bronson leave to appeal in December on the grounds the trial judge had failed to allow a vital defence of "duress circumstances".

Bronson's lawyers had claimed this left the jury no option but to convict him of false imprisonment.

'Drastic change'

But Lord Justice Rose said the court had been right not to allow duress as a defence because Bronson, who spends 23 hours a day in a steel cage, had not been in "objective, imminent danger".

At his appeal Bronson told three High Court judges he was sorry for what he had done to Mr Danielson.

"I am not the same person as I was then," he said. "I have changed drastically."

In 2001 while at Woodhill prison, Bronson married Saira Ali Ahmed, who has a 13-year-old daughter.

He told the court he now had family responsibilities, and would never be rehabilitated if he remained in prison.

Bronson, born Michael Peterson, changed his name in homage to the star of the Death Wish films and has earned himself a fearsome reputation during his years in prison.

Since being jailed he has repeatedly attacked staff and inmates.

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