Charles Bronson: Psychopath

Posted: November 17, 2011 in True Crime
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Bronson Crimezine

The real Charles Bronson

Charles Bronson born Michael Gordon Peterson, is one of the most infamous of all institutionalized criminals in the British Prison System. Jailed in 1974 for armed robbery (in which he stole £26.18) his sentence was repeatedly extended by decades for a long list of crimes he committed in jail.

Bronson’ prison career is an A-Z of rebellion against the system and during his time served in over 120 different prisons he has become infamous for his crazed and violent behavior particularly against prison officers. Bronson’s penchant for hostage taking and  destructive roof top protests is legendary. In one roof top protest at Broadmoor he caused £750,000 in Damage,

Briefly released in 1987 Bronson spent fifty three days as a free man before once again being jailed on a robbery charge. Charles Bronson has spent 28 of the last 30 years in solitary confinement.

Crimeziners will be familiar with Director Nicolas Winding Refn of Drive fame,the man responsible for making the crazed movie about Bronson’s life. But there also Bronson Books available, The excellent Solitary Fitness book, in which fitness fanatic Bronson outlines how to stay in shape in solitary. There is also a book of his award winning poems and a biography co-penned with John Blake. And the name? He got it on the bare-knuckle boxing circuit when a (presumably very brave) promotor suggested his real name didn’t sound tough enough. So just how fit is Charles Bronson? Charlies training regime includes 3,000 push-ups every day. Not bad for 59.

Charlie has contacted Crimezine to point out that he has not been diagnosed as a psychopath, and although he was diagnosed as Criminally Insane during the 1970’s He is now —quite sane, despite what the ‘media’ ‘Bronson the movie’ and others who do not know him would have us believe. Crimeziners who wish to read further about the ongoing campaign to Free Charles Bronson should check out the link below.

  1. Jamie Baxter says:

    That Boi Nows How Too Do Stuff Right Man. Go On Charles Bronson

  2. jimbo says:

    Worra Clown

  3. Steve Powell says:

    Speaking as a Brit I can tell you it is almost impossible for a man to spend almost his entire life in prison over here. Bronson is a very strange case and I hope he is granted his freedom eventually, but his cause has not been helped by the celebrity persona that has grown around his name, including the frankly bizarre film that was made about his life.

    Best wishes,

    • tonybulmer says:

      Thanks Steve. Proof that prison doesn’t work? The cost has certainly been prohibitive in the case of Mr Bronson. Perhaps another solution may have been more appropriate? There is no doubt that Charlie is a dangerous man however. Would you want to meet him on his way out of your local Post Office, shotgun in hand? Bronson has the capacity to hurt anyone who gets in his way, aside from being his own worst enemy, we suspect that is why has languished in prison so long. The film we agree was totally nuts, but compulsive viewing none the less. We especially welcome your British point of view. Crimezine has many British friends and relatives.

      All the Best
      Tony Bulmer

    • tonybulmer says:

      Hi Steve it would appear the Bronson Debate is hotting up, do you have any thoughts?

  4. Hello,

    As Secretary of the Charlie Bronson Appeal Fund, may I respond to the comments here? Charlie was released in 1987 (not 88) and again in 1992. He was sent back to prison for stealing a ring in 1987 for a fiance (with an unloaded firearm), and in 1992 for conspiracy to rob. He was caught carrying an unloaded firearm. Both these events would tell you he doesn’t intend to actually harm anyone. More importantly than this though, he was released on both occasions without any rehabilitation or reintegration programme and had extreme difficulties with his release. He had no support or direction and was still, relatively speaking, a young man. He has also never officially changed his name. His name was and still is Michael Peterson. He was given Charlie Bronson as a boxing name, quite unofficially.

    His sentence was extended by weeks, certainly not decades. It crept up as remission was taken away from him and days added for violence while inside (until he got life in 2000). His behaviour inside is a result of his circumstances and does not reflect the man’s behaviour while outside. His crimes were robbery with no evidence of violence (despite the film’s portrayal). We all have the capacity to ‘hurt whoever gets in our way’ – Charlie is no more likely to inflict violence on you than I am. While inside, it is dog eat dog, survival of the fittest.

    Charlie is 59 years old now. He has spent nearly NINE YEARS OVER the tariff recommended when he got life for taking an art teacher hostage. His plea of duress was dismissed by the judge (which is actually against legal policy in the uk).

    Truly Charlie’s case proves that prison does not work. He is a shining example of the failure of the British Penal System.

    You cannot say with any authority that Charlie is institutionalised (unless you know him personally and have studied his behaviour). You can hazard a good guess that it’s almost certain. But I can tell you Charlie desperately wants freedom; he has a family, a support network and a fiance waiting to give him guidance. He doesn’t personalise his cell like most lifers because he says ‘This is not my home. Every day I want to remember it is a cell and I want to get out of here and home.”

    The Charlie Bronson Appeal Fund works to try to make that happen.

    • tonybulmer says:

      Good points well made Sir. To date over a thousand of our readers have expressed an interest in Charlie’s case. Crimezine wishes Charlie the best for the future. I think we all know however that if Charlie had served his time quietly, he would be drinking beer on the Old Kent road by now. That he chose not to was his decision.

      The British media loves kooky characters and Charlie has played that part to a T. No doubt Charlie has been misinterpreted, misquoted, and misunderstood. But he is no choirboy either, and his widely documented antics—over decades—not weeks have done nothing but cement his reputation as one of Britain’s most fearsome prisoners.

      Bronson cannot be feared and at the same time have us believe society has nothing to fear from him. A paradox that has no doubt prevented his release to date. As far as Charlie being institutionalised — you telling us he isn’t? What is he going to do on release, get a job in WH Smith? Absurd of course, but the point is clear, Charlie has many challenges ahead.

      Charlie is lucky, unlike many lifers he has many friends. We hope those friends take care of him when he finally is released. Charlie’s spirit and tenacity and humour is an example to all. We hope he finds freedom he is looking for and soon.


      • I think your reply sums up exactly how the public feel about the UK prison system. People are expected to shut up and put up in prison, do their time quietly as you put it. That he hasn’t is why he still remains inside but says nothing for the brutality and disfunctional prison system we have.

        His ‘antics’ are what you are fed by the media. I’ve witnessed first hand the truth in an event and then seen the media’s reportage and the two don’t resemble each other in any way. But as I said, in prison, a boiled egg can mean more to a prisoner than a bar of gold out here to us. So when you hear that a prisoner caused a riot over a boiled egg, people naturally believe it’s out of all proportion and irrational behaviour. Perhaps only prisoners and ex-cons can understand this.

        I fail to see how you can quantify him as institutionalised because he will struggle for employment. Clearly he won’t take a job, the man won’t ever need to work again when he gets out as his financial future is secure. So his only problem will be adjustment. But whatever problems he may face do not preclude his right to freedom now, having MORE than served his time.

        By the way, your magazine’s title ‘Charles Bronson, Psychopath…’ He isn’t and the term is derogatory. Even when declared criminally insane in the late 70s, he was not diagnosed a psychopath. Perhaps you could do some research to clarify the facts when writing about living breathing humans who have families and futures to fight for.

      • tonybulmer says:

        Thanks Lorraine, No doubt the British prison system is brutish and dysfunctional. No doubt Mr Bronson has had a torrid time in Prison. Many would argue that is a good thing. Many would argue that is what prison is for. To punish. For the record Crimezine does not agree. We don’t think punitive brutality achieves the ends it seeks.

        You suggest you have witnessed the truth about Charlie Bronson. No doubt you have,[] and we thank you for your valuable contribution, but are you seriously suggesting that the media are responsible for Charlie’s predicament?

        You also take issue with the word institutionalised and yet admit that Charlie will have problems adjusting once he gets out. To be clear institutionalised literally means: suffering the deleterious effects of long term residence in an institution. There can be no doubt that Charlie has suffered in such a way. That does not however mean that he can never be released.

        Psychopath? Maybe not, as you correctly point out there is a clinical distinction between Psychopath and Criminally insane, it is a distinction that few members of the public would be able to make however, especially if they were being confronted by an armed robber—even if his gun wasn’t loaded. No doubt Charlie has put such problems in the past, one, would hope so. But surely you must realize this is yet another black mark against his release?

        Thank you for your clarifications though, and we wish you every success in achieving an early release for Charlie.

        Further more if Charlie wants to get in touch. We welcome his input too, we did after all say nice things about his books and that is a fact.


  5. Steve Powell says:

    This has turned into quite a lively debate! I would say that hostage taking and robbery are violent acts, no matter what the circumstances, so we cannot say that Charlie is not violent. However, that does not justify his brutal treatment by the UK prison system. But that’s what I find so unusual, very few people in this country are victimised by the system like Charlie. Republican and Loyalist terrorists, some of whom committed mass murder, have been released from prison under the Good Friday agreement. We were told their crimes were political, and therefore could be forgiven when the political situation changed. Perhaps, but if we can rehabilitate terrorists surely we can grant Charlie his freedom. At the very least he deserves more humane treatment in prison. As for the flat assertion ‘prison doesn’t work’, I disagree. Britain’s prison system is not as progressive as the various Scandinavian systems, but it is more humane than in the US. I would hope that the best system combines punishment with rehabilitation. How exactly you get the mix right I don’t know, but it has certainly not been achieved with the treatment of Charles Bronson.

    Best wishes,

  6. Crimezine says:

    The mails that appear to be from Charlie Bronson are in fact NOT from Charlie Bronson they are from the Charming Lorraine, who Charlie credits with being his sister. and yet the ever coy Lorainne describes herself as ‘a friend’.

  7. Jimbo says:

    Worra mug. Jail is best place for him

  8. Crimezine, I I am NOT actually trying to give the impression I am Charlie Bronson. I simply logged in using a facebook account. If you check my first email, I quite clearly told you I am the Secretary of the Charlie Bronson Appeal Fund. What exactly is your point???? Is it even relevant who I am – I have an opinion to give and I gave it. AND I am NOT his Sister/Cousin Loraine but again, NOT RELEVANT ANYWAY IS IT??!

    The most important thing to remember perhaps is that everyone thus far on this page has given their opinion about a man they don’t even know (as so many people do in Charlie’s case), whereas I DO ACTUALLY KNOW THE MAN. A relevant Point to make perhaps is that you are slandering Charlie by using the term ‘psychopath’ (great medical diagnosis on your part about a man you don’t even know)… you’re are ignorant as the UK tabloids.

    • tonybulmer says:

      No need for shouting Sir/Madam, we are not the Daily Mail. Admitted we have not had the pleasure. We do not pretend to know you/him,. but there are many who have met you,their testimony can be found at:

      Surprising that you chose to ignore the many positive aspects of our commentary and chose to RAGE against the aspects that you perceived to be negative.You will notice however that unlike your chums at the Daily Mail or the ‘Media’ that you seem to hate so much we give you a platform to air your views.

      Sister/Cousin/Friend? Who knows and who frankly cares. We just want you to be straight with us.

      Our whole reason for running a story on you was to highlight what we perceived to be an injustice.You will notice we didn’t run details of your long list of convictions or over dramatic details of your famous exploits, real or imagined. Interesting that you chose anger and accusation as a response. We frankly didn’t expect it.

      Best of luck, and when you finally do get out of Prison we wish you a smooth and peaceful journey.


    • Ginny Lee says:

      I have been corresponding briefly with someone from the Charlie Bronson fund and although it’s obvious to me the person prefers to remain anonymous, giving very little information about his or her self, I find the person quite friendly and personal. Very willing to answer any questions. I will say I have felt since the beginning, that I was corresponding with a woman. But as she has said, what does it matter?? She has personal insight into Charlie Bronson and he is the main topic. Her life is not and of course, she prefers it this way.

      • tonybulmer says:

        Thanks Ginny, We love objective opinion at Crimezine—from where ever it may come. If we publish opinion and subsequently discover that the opinion comes from either the subject of the article and/or a member of their immediate family, it is no longer objective opinion is it? It is bias, wrapped up as objective opinion; a misrepresentation that is particularly unfortunate in this case. When we discovered this subterfuge there was much SHOUTING from the Bronson camp; which is doubly unfortunate. Keep reading Crimeziner!

  9. Angela says:

    Best of luck to everyone who wants this guy rehabilitated and got out x

  10. gavin says:

    i have been lookin up charlie bronson ever since seeing the film a year ago everytime i am on the net i always look up what new personally i think the man should be let out i my self have been in jail serveral times and now have been out for a good period of a year in a half in jail its look out for yourself or be prepared for anything as he says for the few punches hes thrown out hes had twice as many back and comon 9 years after a suitable release date hes a human being not a animal

    • tonybulmer says:

      Thanks Gavin! Crimezine recommends the books. Bronson tells us he has been on more roofs than Santa Claus and eaten more porridge than Goldilocks!

    • ginny lee says:

      I tend to agree depending on the person. I think if there is something on the outside for them to hold onto leaving prison will not be so frightening to. Less aggression.

    • Ginny Lee says:

      Gavin, I have actively worked with convicts for years and the main problem I can pin down, is how they are uneasy being on the outside. Everything is so different for them. Their families don’t understand how to help them adjust. PTSD could be applied to a long term convict who has just been released. I’ve had people complain about “all the colors” that hurt their eyes. Once they go in, they seem to float in that time period where nothing changes until they are released. And once released, it is no longer the same world they left.

  11. The Truth says:

    This asshole needs to stay in prison for life without possibility of parole.

  12. arlene dye says:

    bless im,like the chap,he should be set free, like any other earwig.he has wings to fly.

  13. Iseeyou says:

    If he does get released, I hope he gets to live beside the people who are asking or him to be released. You do the crime, you do the time. He could have been out long ago if he hadn’t continued to act like a total muppet while inside. He may not be a psychopath but he’s not clever. He could have done his time long ago and as someone else already pointed out, could have been frred many years ago. This man takes people hostage and batters people severely, that is why he’s still inside. What annoys me is the amount of tax payers money that has gone into keeping this man inside.

    I’m not fooled.

    He is allegedly in a tiny concrete cell with no real window (has to put his lips against the grill for air, etc, and just a concrete platform for a bed, no privileges, etc, how does that man write books and access the internet?

    • Ginny Lee says:

      If you’ve studied or better yet, worked with inmates (who don’t like being called that), you’d see how easy it is for him to write and write nonstop out of sheer boredom, but how he accesses the internet is beyond me. I was under the impression just by reading his book, he doesn’t want to have a computer. Yet I believe I did find him on Twitter. He sure sounded like the real McCoy to me.

      • tonybulmer says:

        Thanks Ginny crime is our business, so yes we have dealings with protagonists on both sides of the law, in England and the United States, where Crimezine is based. Charlie’s case is something we follow, because we are proud he has had the gumption to do something positive in a literary sense while in jail, and yet frustrated that his attitude remains self defeating, although don’t tell him he will probably start SHOUTING again.

  14. Ginny Lee says:

    Tony, I know of a man who was innocent and went to prison for 20 to life. Needless to say, he was so upset about this, he beat up a prison guard. Just one guard. He was given an extra 9 years in prison and he did serve all 29 years before he was paroled. See his case in Centurion Ministries, plus he has his own website. He has recently been proved innocent and received over 1M in compensation.

    • tonybulmer says:

      Thanks Ginny, Crimezine is sympathetic to the plight of most prisoners, particularly prisoners who use their time to write—think of Ed Bunker, John Mc Vicar etc. Whilst we do not advocate directly for prisoners, we believe that Charlie Bronson has quite literally served his time and deserves to be released. We also believe rehabilitation, rather than punishment should be the aim of prison in most cases.

  15. wot a prick..the whole point of the game is not to get caught..a waste of life, a waste of space_

    • tonybulmer says:

      Thanks Johnny, sound views well put. Crimezines original intention was to draw attention to Mr. Bronson’s amusing series of books (well worth taking a look at incidently) Unfortunately “Britain’s most dangerous man” (© The Dail Mail) chose to take issue with us from his Supermax prison cell. We kinda hoped this debate was over…

  16. Cody smith says:

    To be honest I’m not from Brit or anything I’m from th u.s I’ve seen the movie and I’ve read up on a lot about mike… He’s 59.. He’s done his time.. We all make mistakes there are people that have done so much worse terrorism murders rape many many more… The way I see it he was young he seen life in a diffrent prospective he never murdered anyone…I honestly think he is a good hearted person he just won’t about s few things the wrong way as we have all made our mistake I hope he gets out soon and has the chance to enjoy life..he’s seen a lot of things in the system we could never imagine.. In a way he inspires me.. I wish you the best micheal Peterson..stay strong and keep your head up!!

  17. Fuck you says:

    Why does the awesome Crimezine, waste time with a loser like Charles Bronson he is totally ‘insane’ and his ignorance is abundantly clear he can barely string two words together why would anyone “read” his books?. Here’s hoping he falls off his next rooftop protest. Although I hear he is kissing up to the screws like a good little boy these days.

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