Prison officer tamed violent lag Charles Bronson with a single conversation

A prison officer has revealed how he was the only person to ever figure out how to tame the notorious Charles Bronson, with just a "single chat".

Apart from two short periods of freedom, Bronson has been locked up since 1974, when he was first put behind bars for an armed robbery charge.

HMP Wakefield prison officer Mick O'Hagan has opened up to Channel 5 for its documentary HMP Wakefield: Evil Behind Bars, about the infamous Bronson and his history of violence.

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O'Hagan, who had the task of locking up Bronson, said: "He had a horrendous record of violence. To say he had a bad track record would be an understatement. I think he'd been kicking off in virtually every prison he'd been in at that stage.

"Smashing places up, running amok, covering himself in butter so people can't get hold of him. Just, violence."

O'Hagan talked about how he approached Bronson's solitary confinement cage after his second day at the prison.

He told him: "You've been in solitary for 21 years, don't you want to get out? He said, 'of course I do', I said 'well you're going the wrong way about it, all this kicking off and assaults and hostage taking. Why don't you start using your loaf? Start boxing clever?"

Bronson then explained the conversation from his side: "He said why don't you do something clever? Writing, poetry, art… "

O'Hagan added: "So the next day I took a sketch pad and some coloured pencils and stuff down I said 'see what you make of that'.

"He said 'I can't f**** draw', I said 'well see how you get on'.

"Two days later, he showed me this piece of work, first thing he ever did.

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"He asked me what I thought, I said 'I thought you couldn't draw', he said he didn't know he could. It took over his life, he sat all day long at his little table doing all this stuff."

Bronson explained: "I started doing a bit of doodling here, doodling there, and all these years later I've now got 19 publishes books.

"I've won 11 Costa Awards for my art and my poetry. When I got locked up in 1974 it was for a pump action shotgun, twelve bore, sawn off. And I've got rid of that now and now I've got a sawn off paintbrush.

"So really it was all down to Mick O'Hagan that I really, you know, became a better person."

The UK’s Parole Board recently announced it would be hearing his case in March to see whether the madcap lag can go free after spending 47 years in prison.

He is currently understood to be in HMP Woodhill in Buckinghamshire as a Category A prisoner.

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