Notorious Milton Keynes prisoner Charles Bronson makes rare public appearance in Aylesbury

He appeared via a video link to defend a fellow inmate
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World famous Milton Keynes prisoner Charles Bronson made a rare public appearance at Aylesbury Crown Court yesterday (26 March).

Britain's most notorious prisoner addressed a jury in defence of his New York gangster inmate pal, Clifton Jeter, who is accused of punching a prison governor in the head.

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Jury members listened and watched intently as the much feared prisoner appeared via a video link, sporting his trademark round glasses and black tee-shirt emblazoned with the legend: "World's Best Godfather."

Charles BronsonCharles Bronson
Charles Bronson

Jeter, a convicted murderer, claims he feared prison officers were going to assault him in retaliation for an incident that had taken place a few days earlier in which a guard was slashed with a razor blade by one of Jeter's friends at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes.

The 46-year-old, who is known by the nickname ‘Yankee’, was to be moved to a more secure cell within the specialist close supervision centre at the jail. Aylesbury Crown Court heard that he then lunged at the prison governor and punched him to the back of the head.

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Prosecutors claimed that Jeter acted out of anger at being moved to a different wing where he would not be allowed to associate with other prisoners.

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However, fellow inmate Bronson, who has changed his name to Salvador and who has spent most of his life behind bars, made a rare appearance in court to defend his friend of 15 years - claiming Jeter had been "stitched up like a kipper" by "corrupt" prison guards who had gathered to give him "a bloody good kicking."

He said: "Yankee is a lovely man, a good friend, loyal, sincere. I've got nothing but admiration and respect for the man."

Bronson, whose attacks of prison guards and other inmates were dramatised in a feature-length film starring Tom Hardy, told the jury he saw "at least a dozen screws" on the landing just above his.

Bronson said: "It was so unusual and it made me angry. The only time they do this is when they are going to give someone a bloody good kicking."

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He said he witnessed parts of the incident through the "Judas-hole" in the door of his prison cell, which had been left ajar, allowing him to see the stairs leading up to the landing above his.

He told the jury: "What I saw that morning, I didn't like.

"I saw well over a dozen screws go up the stairs - straightaway I knew something was not right. And I heard one of these screws making monkey noises - and I didn't like that."

Bronson told the jury it was "very unusual" for such a high number of guards to attend a cell move and a search - even for category A prisoners like himself and Jeter, who are randomly searched at least once a month.

He said: "It made me angry because for the first time in many years, Yankee was actually behaving himself and trying to progress, and by doing that they were causing him trouble.

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"There was no reason - it takes one man to go to his door, not 12. He had nothing to do with that other attack, he had not done anything."

After he saw the guards go up the stairs, Bronson said he heard a scuffle and saw officers take Jeter downstairs.

He recalled: "Yankee is in the middle of them - they are actually carrying him; and I shouted through the door: 'I'm f***ing watching you lot'."

Jeter also gave evidence to the court, standing at the witness bar flanked by two prison officers whilst three more guarded the courtroom's entrances.

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He told the jury he was used to being searched by two to three officers in the privacy of his single cell on the B unit of the close supervision centre at HMP Woodhill.

However, on the morning of February 8, 2021, he was woken up by prison governor Kenneth Tangie - then the unit's custodial manager - telling him he was to be moved immediately as he was suspected of having something to do with the attack that had happened a few days prior.

Footage from the prison's CCTV cameras showed Jeter stepping out of his cell and complying with a first pat-down search, before he is asked to step into an empty cell next door.

Jeter told the court: "I thought something was going to happen to me. I was in that prison for four years and that's never happened to me before. Normally, there would be three, four, five, up to seven officers - not 10 - and they would search me in my cell.

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"I immediately thought they wanted to take me to that empty room to surround me and overwhelm me and punch me - because of the assault that took place a week before.

"So I punched Mr Tangie because then the general alarm goes off and more people come - too many to try to sweep a quick assault under the carpet."

Jeter added: "You have to understand that prison officers, they see a lot of things and they get quite desensitised - and when these things happen, they want to show loyalty to their colleagues. They don't forget what you have done.

"It didn't end well for the guy that assaulted the prison officer several days before."

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Bronson yesterday (Tuesday) supported that version of events, claiming that some prison officers were "bullies."

He told the jury: "I'm an honest man, I've got nothing to lie for.

"There's plenty of prison officers who do a bloody good job. They've got a hard job to do, dealing with difficult situations - but there is a minority of them who are dogs and they come to work to cause problems and stitch people up.

"Screws are corrupt, they bring in telephones and drugs for the prisoners - they're not all angels."

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Bronson added: "The ones who are bullies and cowards - I spit on them. They know who they are. The ones who make monkey noises to my friend, they deserve all they get."

The prosecutor told the jury a high number of officers were required to move British-born Jeter, who was sentenced in 2008 to a 27-year life term for murdering a father-of-seven in a bungled "honey trap" robbery.

Kenneth Tangie, a 51-years-old prison governor at HMP Woodhill, said he felt "awful" after receiving a punch from Jeter, with whom he said he had a good relationship.

Jeter admitted during the trial that he no longer believed Mr Tangie had orchestrated an assault against him - but maintained he felt threatened at the time and was left with no option but to attack the custodial manager.

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He said: "It was the only way I was not going into that cell - and it worked."

In 2014, he was sentenced to an extra 13 years in prison after he tried to kill two prison guards with a razor blade.

Jeter, who was taken to the US as a child but deported back to the UK after becoming involved with some of New York's toughest street gangs, will only become eligible for parole in 2048 when he will be aged 71 years.

He was arrested for murder in 2007 after stabbing chauffeur 49-year-old Ghiass Tarabin to death.

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His then girlfriend, Candy, had unexpectedly turned up at the victim's address in Hendon for a sexual liaison and Jeter had burst in demanding cash and valuables.

Jeter was convicted of murder in May 2008 at the Old Bailey and jailed for life but was moved around various prisons due to his violent behaviour.

Bronson was first jailed aged 22 years in 1974 for armed robbery and wounding.

Since then he has only had brief spells of freedom and he is currently being held at the specialist close supervision centre at Woodhill Prison.

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In 1993, while on remand in Woodhill, Bronson held a prison librarian hostage and demanded an inflatable doll, a helicopter and a cup of tea as ransom.

In 1999 he took art teacher Phil Danielson hostage for two days after he had criticised one of Bronson's drawings.

On February 28, 2014, while in the same prison, Bronson violently attacked a governor in a television room, over a dispute that his mail was being withheld, including two letters from his mother.

In March 2023, Bronson lost a parole board bid for freedom after the panel said it was not satisfied Bronson had "the skills to manage his risk of future violence until he has been extensively tested outside of his current highly restricted environment."

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While in prison, Bronson has created a number of artworks and many have been sold, with some proceeds donated to charity.

In 2014, a sale of 200 of his pieces raised more than £30,000 at auction. His works in total have raised about £100,000, his parole hearing was told.

He has had several books published, including ones about his prison fitness regime and his time at Broadmoor Hospital.

After he finished giving his evidence, he told Jeter through the video link: "All the best Yankee, and good luck!"

The jury adjourned to consider whether Jeter was guilty of the attack yesterday.