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Charlie Bronson has spent 28 of the last 30 years in solitary confinement, during which time he has gained a fearsome reputation as one of the world’s toughest and most dangerous convicts. He has been locked in dungeons, in iron boxes cemented into the middle of cells, and in a cage much like that used on Hannibal Lecter. Yet Charlie is a man of great warmth and humor who has—despite perpetrating numerous kidnappings—never killed anyone. He lives by a strict moral code and is respected and admired by prison officers and prisoners alike. In this new edition of his bestselling autobiography, Charlie reveals the truth about his extraordinary life behind bars.
steel door. Just a lodger, just a number passing through. I was destined to stay there eight weeks. I trained hard in solitary and was content. Some of the older screws came to my door for a chat. Opposite my cell was a smashing lad called Les Cromer, a typical Scouser – all heart. Les sent me over magazines and papers and when he won his case and got out we wrote for a while. He had a lovely daughter who I idolised. The next thing I heard, he had died in a car crash. He was only in his late
seemed to have upset them. By the time they got me to the punishment block, I was well and truly fucked. Pain is not the word. My bollocks were in agony, my body ached, my eye was cut, even my toes were throbbing. They stripped me off, then strapped me up in a body-belt. This is a leather belt that locks at the back and has a metal cuff on each hip, which locks your wrists. They also strapped my ankles. If this was not enough, they injected me in my right buttock with a hypodermic needle. I
Strangely, I was excited on my first morning inside Britain’s most notorious madhouse. Sure, I had to face facts. I was criminally insane. I was only 26 and I was desperate. I had been caged for almost five years and I had lost everything. I truly felt that I had nothing else to lose. Maybe I was mad and deserved to be in a cage but there was no way I would go along with their mental games. I knew from day one that I would be a lion. They knew they would have to tame me. It was going to be a
worth, I did respect the old git! I can put my hand up and say that I have experienced my share of pain, but nothing could have prepared me for what was about to happen next. I woke up in agony. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t talk. The right side of my face had all swollen up. This was like toothache and earache and a lot worse all rolled into one ball of agony. I was sick, but no one would believe me. I went berserk. Again, I was injected, only to wake up in more pain. A couple of screws, Stuart
say thanks to all the screws – they’d been such a wonderful bunch that day. Then I banged up and cried my fucking heart out. Yeah, big men do cry. The next day it was back to the old routine. It had to be to survive. I worked out. Press-ups, sit-ups, and I used my medicine ball. I call her ‘Bertha’. She’s seen me through a good few hours, has Bertha. I could never forget those last few moments with my dad. But for the moment I had to concentrate on my routine, otherwise I would have been