LONG-TERM prisoner Charles Bronson tried to gouge out the eyes of a governor at HMP Wakefield after a disagreement over photographs of his prison wedding, a court heard.
Bronson, who now goes by the name of Charles Salvador, had harboured a grudge against governor Mark Docherty for restrictions placed on photography at his wedding to actress Paula Williamson last November, a jury at Leeds Crown Court was told today.
Bronson, 65, has pleaded not guilty to attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent and is representing himself in court.
He appeared in the dock wearing a green-and-yellow prison jumpsuit and dark glasses, flanked by four guards.
As 12 jurors were selected from a panel of 15, Bronson was asked whether he had an issue with three potential jurors who had links to the prison service.
Indicating that he wanted one particular man to be on the jury, he replied: “The big fat one there, I’ll have him.”
Judge Tom Bayliss replied: “May I say, insulting the jurors at this stage is not a good plan.”
The judge then told the selected jury that they may have noticed the defendant “sometimes has a blunt manner” and they should not hold this against him.
He said they should also not hold his outfit against him, as the defendant had wanted to wear more suitable clothing but custody rules meant he had not been able to receive a change of clothes.
He said: “I hope you find this case an interesting experience. I rather think you will.”
Prosecuting, Carl Fitch said on January 25 of this year, Bronson had whistled the tune to The Great Escape before he “rushed at Mr Docherty”, who ended up on the floor.
He said Bronson shouted that he would bite Mr Docherty’s nose off and “gouge your eyes out”.
He said: “As he shouted this, Mr Salvador put his hands on Mr Docherty’s face, trying to reach his eyes.”
He said fortunately, Mr Docherty had only received minor injuries.
Prison officers took Bronson back to his cell, Mr Fitch said, where he “made it quite clear he had been intent on harming Mr Docherty for some time”.
He said at Bronson’s wedding to Ms Williamson, guests had not been able to take photographs.
Instead, prison staff took some photographs which were not to be taken out of the jail.
“They feared that Ms Williamson would go to the media with them,” Mr Fitch said.
He said: “The Crown says that it is for that reason, amongst others, that Mr Salvador had a grudge against Mr Docherty, who he partly blamed for that decision regarding the withholding of the photographs.”
Bronson was interviewed at HMP Frankland in Durham, the court heard, and said in a prepared statement that he had been in various prisons for more than 40 years, that he had spent much of his time in solitary confinement and that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
The trial continues.