Long-term prisoner Charles Bronson has told a court he would not have bitten a prison governor’s nose off during an alleged attack, saying: “I’m a vegetarian.”
The 65-year-old, who is defending himself in a trial at Leeds Crown Court, today cross-examined Mark Docherty, the governor at HMP Wakefield he is accused of trying to seriously harm.
Bronson, who now goes by the name Charles Salvador, also gave jurors a live demonstration of how quickly he can throw punches, by repeatedly hitting his own palm, saying he could have punched Mr Docherty many times if he had wanted to.
The 65-year-old, who is defending himself in a trial at Leeds Crown Court, said: “In three seconds I could hit a man in the face 10 times.”
He asked the governor: “Do you honestly believe I would have bitten your nose off?”
Mr Docherty replied: “I believe given the opportunity you would have, yes.”
The prosecution had previously said how Bronson had rushed at Mr Docherty at the start of a meeting on January 25, getting him to the floor and attempting to gouge his eyes, while shouting that he would bite his nose off and “gouge your eyes out”, before being restrained by prison staff.
Mr Docherty, governor of HMP Wakefield's close supervision centre and segregation, said he heard Bronson shouting 'Mr Harding is next' - referring to HMP Wakefield's overall governor.
The court heard that Bronson, who denies a charge of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent, had a grudge against Mr Docherty over the arrangements for photographing his wedding to actress Paula Williamson at the prison in November 2017.
Jurors were today told how, prior to the wedding, Bronson had been told he and his new wife would be given 22 wedding photographs, taken by prison staff.
But Mr Docherty said this plan changed after they found out that among the guests was “a member of the paparazzi who had his press licence taken away from him” and a “professional prankster” who had gone onto the pitch at Stoke City Football Club wearing a prison outfit with the words ‘Free Bronson’ written on the back.
Bronson said: “Is it possible all I was going to do is give you a bear hug, a gentle one, and just whisper in your ear, ‘Where’s my wife’s photos?’”
Mr Docherty disagreed.
The court heard the incident had left Mr Docherty with scratches to his face and whiplash to his neck which he had needed physiotherapy for.
Bronson accused Mr Docherty of “having a laugh”.
“There is no way in a month of Sundays you suffered whiplash,” he said.
“I think you are trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes.”
Mr Docherty replied: “No.”
The court heard from more than one member of prison staff that Bronson had been whistling the theme to The Great Escape just before the incident.
While cross-examining another prison officer later in the afternoon, Bronson said: “For the first time in 44 years of prison I never wanted to be violent and I wasn’t violent. I never wanted to hurt that governor.”
The jury was also played footage of the aftermath of the incident, filmed on the body-worn camera of prison officer Paul Crookes.
In the footage, Bronson can be seen on the floor being pinned down by guards.
As he is being led back to his cell, in a white vest and grey tracksuit bottoms, he can be heard to say: “I know I shouldn’t have gotten out of bed this morning.”
The trial, which is expected to conclude this week, continues.