Notorious prisoner Charles Bronson, convicted this week for attacking a prison officer, has a “gentle heart” underneath his violent exterior, it has been revealed.
A High Court heard this week how the 61-year-old punched Woodhill prison officer Michael Turner, leaving him with head wounds, concussion and shoulder injuries.
Mr Turner, a prison dog handler, was awarded £32,500 in damages for the attack, which happened in April 2010.
Bronson is serving a life sentence for robbery and has a history of violence during his years behind bars.
Now known as Charles Salvador, he produces meticulous pen and ink drawings and has established himself as a marketable artist.
He spent several years at Woodhill prison, which he describes as his favourite jail.
City solicitor Harriet Mather, from CDMK solicitors, looked after Bronson’s legal matters and visited him regularly at Woodhill.
“Yes, I know all about his violent side, but there really is another side to him that people don’t know about,” Harriet told the Citizen.
“I saw him many times over a five-year period and he was always respectful, courteous and a perfect gentleman.”
Harriet watched Bronson build up his reputation as an artist whose paintings sell sometimes for hundreds of pounds.
“What people don’t realise is that he uses the money from his paintings to help charities,” she said.
He has donated thousands of pounds over the years to a charity in Pakistan that looks after homeless and destitute adults and children.
He has also given money to individual appeals to help disabled children or struggling families.
“He really is not all bad,” said Harriet.
Charles Bronson is serving his 40th year behind bars – yet his original sentence was for only seven years for a robbery he commited at the age of 19.
The rest of the years have been added on for attacking prison staff.
He has also held a member of staff hostage.
Bronson holds a string of world records for his feats of strength and fitness, and once did 3,000 press ups a day to keep trim.
He is so strong that he has reportedly bent a metal prison cell door using just his bare hands.