Charles Bronson says he has PTSD after ‘brutal’ jail treatment

Charles Bronson has post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after being subjected to “brutal and unacceptable treatment” behind bars, a psychologist told his parole hearing today. Dubbed one of Britain’s most violent offenders, Bronson, 70, was jailed for seven years in 1974 after being convicted of armed robbery. Since then, he has spent years moving from prison to prison for thefts, firearms and violence.

The expert, hired by Bronson’s legal team said: “He feels like the whole system is about humiliating and degrading him.”

Bronson appeared in court wearing his trademark, round glasses, rocking his chair backwards and forwards as his psychologist gave evidence.

Judges have also heard Bronson, whose real name is Michael Peterson, holds “anti-authoritarian views” and is naturally somewhat suspicious” of the motives of others, according to the psychologist.

She said he developed PTSD due to some “brutal and unacceptable treatment” while in the British prison system.

The prisoner of 48 years was previously diagnosed with anti-social personality order.

Three unnamed parole judges are considering his case at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire while members of the press and public watch on a live stream from the Royal Courts of Justice in central London.

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During the review, Bronson, who changed his surname to Salvador told judges he loved a “rumble” and enjoyed mass brawls in prison but has since found solace in art.

The psychologist said: “He found violence cathartic in the past.

“I think now what he does is he tends to weigh up the pros and cons of violence to himself, that is an effective strategy.”

She added: “I can imagine him telling somebody to eff off quite frankly… but it’s whether that equates to serious harm.”

Bronson was handed a discretionary life sentence with a minimum term of four years in 2000 for taking a prison teacher at HMP Hull hostage for 44 hours. Since then, the Parole Board has repeatedly refused to direct his release.

The psychologist argued the prisoner should be eventually moved to a lower security jail where he would be able to interact with other people.

Bronson is said to only mix with three other inmates, including one he dislikes and avoids.

The psychologist said: “I believe that Mr Salvador poses less of a risk in a community environment than in a prison environment, and I stand by that assessment.

“Of course, I’m talking about a highly supportive community environment and I’m talking about a gradual move into a community environment.”

The proceedings will finish in secret on Friday, allowing for confidential information to be discussed.

During this final session, The Parole Board will consider whether Bronson should remain behind bars, although a final decision will be made at a later date. 

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