For decades Charles Bronson has been known as Britain’s most dangerous prisoner.
A one time armed robber, 95 per cent of his crimes have been committed while in custody.
He has spent almost half a century locked up in the country’s most notorious prisons and asylums.
Bronson has spent 45 years as a Category A prisoner for hostage taking and repeated attacks on inmates and guards.
But now aged 66, Bronson says his days of railing against the system are finally over.
A new lease of life for Charles Bronson
In an exclusive interview, the former bare-knuckle fighter says he is hoping to be released from custody before he reaches 70.
Bronson says his new-found optimism is thanks to jurors at Leeds Crown Court who found him not guilty of attempting to cause serious harm to the governor at Wakefield Prison.
Here, the fitness fanatic talks about his against-all-odds court battle and a new lease of life which he says he owes to his love of art.
Now he’s planning to “smash his way” into the art world.
Bronson - now known as Charles Salvador in honour of his favourite surrealist artist Salvador Dali - says a conviction would have been ‘the last screw in his coffin’.
Cleared by the jury at Leeds Crown Court six months ago, Bronson says he is enjoying a new lease of life at HMP Woodhill, Milton Keynes.
His focus is now on persuading the Parole Board that he is finally safe to be released back into the community before he is 70-years-old.
He said: “Ever since that day in Leeds court my life’s turned around for the better.
“I was looking at another ten years there. If I had got another guilty there that would have been the last screw in my coffin.
“Since then I’ve boxed it clever. I’ve had a move. I’m doing well. I feel good. Focused. Positive. I just feel fantastic.
“It’s looking like I’m getting out in about three years' time.
“I’m doing courses. As you know I’m doing a life sentence, but my tariff was only three years. I’m 17 years over that tariff now.
“Take into account my age - I’m 67 this year - I’m going to be out before I’m 70.”
'I want to go round schools and get kids involved in art'
Bronson is a self-taught artist. He is prolific in his output.
Most days in solitary confinement are taken up with creating pieces using basic materials which he sends to friends, family and his loyal army of supporters.
Bronson believes art has helped him become a better person.
An exhibition of his work was held in London in March after the lifer struck up an unlikely friendship with international art curator Lisa Gray.
He said: “There’s only one thing I’m going to do out there, mate.
“I’m going to get stuck in and I’m going to smash my way into the art world.
“I’m a born again artist. I love my art.
“I’ve always been a destructive person all my life.
“But since I’ve found art, I’m now creative. Positive. Focused.
“And I can’t wait to get out there and start creating - masterpieces. On canvas with oils.
“And I would like to go around the schools and get the kids involved in art.
“If possible visit a few YP jails (Young Offender Institutions) and get the youngsters involved in art. Get them off the streets.
“Get them in to the art classes. Get them into gyms. Boxing. Football. Weightlifting.
“Everyone is born with a gift and it took me over half a century to find my gift.
“And now I’ve found it, I’m going to use it and hopefully help a lot of people along the way.”
He added: “I’m getting out in about three years’ time.
“Love and respect to the world.”