Leeds & West Yorkshire

Charles Bronson trial: 'I'm innocent', inmate tells jury

Charles Bronson in 1992 Image copyright PA
Image caption Charles Bronson was first jailed for armed robbery in 1974, and to date has served more than 40 years in jail

Notorious inmate Charles Bronson has told a jury that "for once in my life I really am an innocent man".

Bronson, 65, is accused of attempting to seriously injure HMP Wakefield governor Mark Doherty in a row over photos at the prisoner's wedding.

During a confrontation at the jail, Bronson said he had intended to put Mr Doherty in a gentle "bear hug" and ask "where's my wife's photos?".

Bronson, who denies the offence, is currently serving a life term.

Leeds Crown Court previously heard he pinned Mr Doherty to the ground and threatened to bite his nose off prior to a welfare meeting in January this year.

Jurors heard Bronson was angry over a decision to ban electronic devices at his marriage to actress Paula Williamson in November 2017, for which he blamed the governor.

'Arrogant, ignorant man'

Giving his version of events, Bronson, representing himself, said he was "upset" by the decision a few days before the ceremony to not allow the photographs to be taken out of prison.

He was further angered, he said, that his son George - an "ex-paparazzi" - and a man he named as Basky Baskerville, described by Bronson as "a lunatic" who would often run on to football pitches, were not allowed to attend.

"When I went into the room I was not happy at all with the governor. I don't like him, make no bones about it. An arrogant, ignorant man," he said.

Bronson, who claimed to have tripped as he entered the room, said he had no intention of harming Mr Doherty and his reputation had caused prison staff to "over-react" and restrain him.

He also suggested Mr Doherty's "minor" injuries could have been caused by a prison officer.

"It's a possibility, it happens," he said.

"If I was going to attack him he would have had serious facial injuries."

Image copyright PA/Elizabeth Cook
Image caption Bronson has been representing himself at the Leeds Crown Court trial

He said his nose-biting comment, caught on bodycam, was "horrible" but "a figure of speech" he would never dream of carrying out.

Bronson concluded his evidence by thanking members of the jury for listening to him, adding that although he had been making progress in prison it "wasn't to be".

'Don't mess with mother'

"Members of the jury, here I am facing the biggest farce probably in prison history and that's why I am here today," he said.

Cross-examining Bronson, prosecutor Carl Fitch outlined a number of Bronson's previous convictions, including one for actual bodily harm against the governor of HMP Woodhill in 2014,

The attack came after the governor decided to stop Bronson's post going out, the court heard.

"My mother's post by the way. I should have punched him a few more times as well," Bronson said.

"You don't mess around with elderly ladies, especially my mother."

Bronson, currently at HMP Frankland in Durham and who is standing trial under the name Charles Salvador, denies attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent.

The trial continues.

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