Page last updated at 13:12 GMT, Friday, 6 June 2008 14:12 UK

Bronson describes 'real porridge'

Charles Bronson
Charles Bronson described his world as a "cage" with "hopelessness"

One of Britain's most notorious criminals has told other prisoners to "stop moaning" about conditions.

Charles Bronson was jailed in 1974, aged 21, for armed robbery but has been convicted of several other crimes committed inside jails since then.

In a letter to the magazine Inside Time, he said fellow convicts, "are snivelling over petty things".

Bronson, from Luton, said his world was a "cage", with "year after year of total emptiness and hopelessness".

Bronson, currently held in Wakefield Prison, changed his name in the 1980s from Michael Peterson.

He staged a 47-hour rooftop protest at the Broadmoor secure hospital in 1983, causing 750,000 damage.

In 1994, while he was holding a guard hostage at Woodhill Prison, Milton Keynes, he demanded an inflatable doll, a helicopter and a cup of tea as ransom.

Two months later, he held deputy governor Adrian Wallace hostage for five hours at Hull Prison, injuring him so badly he was off work for five weeks.

In his letter to the magazine, he said of fellow prisoners: "If they had to live my existence they would really have something to moan about - let me educate you guys what real porridge is all about.

"My world is a cage, isolated year after year of total emptiness and hopelessness.

"It's nine years since I had an open visit. Even my parole reviews are closed; the judge is told I'm too dangerous to be in the same room.

"Doubtless some will say 'good', it's what Bronson deserves."

Bronson said he had been against violence for the past eight years and had changed, but saw little hope of being paroled.

He also said prison conditions had changed - the days of hardened prisoners and tough wardens had gone.

His letter continued: "I just wish some of you cons could live my existence for just a month, then and only then you'd wake up and start to appreciate just what you have got.

"TV, radio, CDs, carpets, curtains, flasks, own clothes, open visits, phone calls, gym, pool, canteen - even the food is not so bad.

"Accept it, be grateful for it, and stop moaning about pathetic things."

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