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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 December, 2003, 21:15 GMT
Bronson fights for freedom
Charles Bronson
Bronson has spent almost 30 years in jail
One of Britain's most violent prisoners has won the right to fight for his freedom by challenging a conviction.

Charles Bronson has succeeded in obtaining leave to appeal against his conviction for taking teacher Phil Danielson hostage during a siege at Hull prison in January 1999.

His solicitor, Richard Mallett, said if the appeal was successful, his client could be freed within a short period of time.

In a statement Mr Mallet said the Court of Appeal had granted Bronson leave to appeal on the grounds that the trial judge failed to allow a vital defence of "duress of circumstances" to be left to the jury to decide, leaving them no option but to convict him.

Prison 'fear'

He said that before the hostage taking, Bronson had been told he was going to be moved to solitary confinement at another prison.

He said: "Charlie was terrified that if he was to be moved again on the continual merry-go-round from one prison to the next, he would suffer really serious injury or indeed be killed.

"He took Danielson hostage in order to highlight his plight."

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.

Bronson, who is a Muslim, wed divorcee Saira Rehman in at Woodhill prison in Milton Keynes, Bucks in June 2001 and changed his name to Ali Ahmed.

He was originally jailed in 1975 for armed robbery and has been held ever since for repeatedly attacking staff and inmates.

Mr Mallett said the Court of Appeal granted the prisoner leave to appeal on the grounds that the trial judge had left the jury no option but to convict Bronson.

The appeal is due to be heard in April.

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