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UPDATED WITH PICTURE SLIDESHOW: Criminal’s art to go under the hammer

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A collection of paintings by Britain’s most violent prisoner, jail-made toys, signed Great Train Robbery memorabilia and autographed items from Yasser Arafat will soon be falling under the hammer... in Tring.

They will be sold to the highest bidder at Tring Market Auctions on Saturday.

Managing director Stephen Hearn – who is also mayor of the town – said: “We have got all these criminal associated people who are all in the same sale.”

The paintings – which have titles like Insanity, Bedlam University, and Prison madness – are by Charles Bronson, who has been dubbed the ‘most violent prisoner in Britain’. They are expected to fetch between £30 and £100 each.

It has been reported that Bronson is selling off his art to pay for a holiday for his mum, who was angry when he attacked 12 prison guards.

Bronson is currently serving life for multiple offences including armed robbery.

The 61-year-old has been in jail for most of his life and has a reputation for being a difficult inmate – having taken numerous hostages.

The Tottenham Hotspur fan reportedly attacked the guards at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes last month while smeared with butter after his team’s arch-rivals Arsenal won the FA Cup.

Mr Hearn said the paintings would be a good conversation-starter and praised them for being ‘different’.

He said: “If it’s a bit different, people are interested. If it is run of the mill, there’s not quite the same interest that there was some time ago.

“Everything has got to be a bit different – that’s the period we are living in.

“Perhaps run of the mill shows the life one has experienced in the last five years and people want something to escape from it.

“If you have one of those hanging on your wall, it’s a bit different to having a picture of a landscape with a bunch of flowers in the middle of it. What’s different about that? Nothing.”

The toys on sale at Saturday’s auction – two model metal lorries – were made at HMP The Mount in Bovingdon.

Mr Hearn said: “I have no idea why they were making toys – perhaps in a workshop for training.

“They are certainly very heavy and very substantial.

“You would not want your child to be run over by them, let alone play with them.

The Great Train Robbery memorabilia is signed by Ronnie Biggs and the other perpetrators of the notorious 1963 heist.

The items – expected to fetch between £800 and £1,000 – include a 1960s Tring street map signed by raid organiser Ronald ‘Buster’ Edwards and fellow robber Tommy Wisbey.

It is believed that the gang may have considered hiding in a safe-house in the town after stopping the train near Cheddington and escaping with £2.6m that was on-board.

But instead the 15 robbers hid in Leatherslade Farm after escaping via a truck beneath Bridego Railway Bridge.

Evidence found at the farm would later lead to the arrest and conviction of most of the robbers.

A magazine cover signed by detective Jack Slipper, who first arrested Ronnie Biggs in 1963, is among the collection of items being auctioned off.

The collection has come from an associate of Mike Gray, who was a friend of Biggs until his death aged 84 in December.

Biggs escaped from Wandsworth Prison in 1965, 15 months into his sentence, and became famous after being discovered in Brazil nine years later.

The Yasser Arafat items – expected to fetch between £150 and £200 – include signed books, papers and artefacts.

Arafat, who was the first president of Palestine for 10 years until his death in 2004, is largely seen as a freedom fighter by Palestinians and a terrorist by Israelis.

 

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