Charles Bronson cleared of prison governor attack

Toyin Owoseje
Charles Bronson outside Woodhill Prison Chapel in 2001: Rex

Notorious inmate Charles Bronson has been cleared of trying to cause grievous bodily harm a senior prison officer.

The 65 year old was said to have lunged at HMP Wakefield governor Mark Docherty in January, during a confrontation at the jail over photos from the prisoner’s wedding.

Mr Docherty, who had been holding a welfare meeting with the Bronson at the time of the incident, told Leeds Crown Court that Bronson had pinned him to the floor and said: “I will bite your f***ing nose off and I will gouge your eyes out.”

Custodial manager Steven Coomber and a number of colleagues intervened to restrain Bronson, Mr Docherty told the court.

Representing himself at Leeds Crown Court, Bronson denied the allegations levelled against him, insisting he intended to put Mr Docherty in a “gentle bear hug” and whisper “where’s my wife’s photos?” in his ear when he tripped, or was tripped by someone, and fell.

The criminal, famously considered by some to be the most violent inmate currently held in British jails, said: “For the first time in 44 years in prison I never intended to be violent. I never meant to hurt the governor.”

Bronson, who stood trail under the name Charles Salvador, had earlier admitted he partly blamed the governor at Wakefield’s segregation unit after he was told photographs of his prison wedding to Coronation Street actress Paula Williamson two months earlier would no longer be allowed to leave the jail until his release.

Jurors found Bronson not guilty of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent, after deliberating for just short of three hours on Thursday.

During the trial, 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.

Bronson, born Michael Peterson, is serving a life sentence for robbery and kidnap.

Additional reporting by PA