Charles Bronson – Bronson & Me out now

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1969

Daily Sport are pleased to be able to bring our readers a chapter from the new book BRONSON AND ME courtesy of our pals at Bad Boys Books

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Salvador’s Darlin’

Over a period of time Charlie had mentioned that he wanted me there at his next parole hearing, which just happened to be a week to the day before us getting married. I had worked my arse off to get a positive parole dossier together; Rod had helped with certain parts, and while using his knowledge and contacts I contacted charities and individuals that Charlie supported and asked them if they would kindly write a letter documenting such. (Many responded and a handful didn’t.) It was a mammoth task and at the end of my work I made copies of all of the documents and added them to my dossier.

In attendance on the day were, three judges, Charlie’s solicitor, who I spoke to very regularly, a probation officer and a slightly nervous me. I watched on as Charlie steadily perused through my documents and by the expressions on his face it was clear to see that he couldn’t believe the amount of work I
had put in. For the hearing I wore a very formal business dress suit, and at first glance I could tell that Charlie hadn’t recognised me, I think he thought I was someone from his legal team, but momentarily after adjusting his eye’s he realised it was me and gave me a cheeky wink, and I responded back with a sexy wink in acknowledgment.

The proceedings opened, with Charlie speaking first, then his solicitor, and finally me. To be honest, I hadn’t really prepared a verbal speech, I simply spoke from heart and head, which got more and more extensive as my confi- dence escalated; in the end I thought I was playing the lead role in some court room drama. However, all I truly remember was me saying most men of Char- lie’s age are set in their ways and are incapable of change, but this man I’m going to marry has changed his life entirely and all for the better. I also stated that I was an intelligent lady and certainly would not have married the Charles Bronson of yesteryear but would, without a seconds thought, marry the new and improved Charles Salvador. I looked over at Charlie and he nodded, and
I saw his eyes well-up, and immediately so did mine. That emotional nod from him to me was filled with gratitude, love, and respect, and once it was over the solicitor, Charlie and I all got to spend some time together.

Charlie thanked me for the work I had done; I thought there would have been a little more emotion from him, but I guess he’d passed his emotional peak during the hearing. By this time it was lunchtime. Charlie was hungry and wanted to go back to his cell, so we went our separate ways and Charlie’s solicitor and I went for a swift gin and tonic in celebration and relief. I got on very well with his solicitor at that time, he devoted so much free time to help Charlie, but unfortunately Charlie dismissed him sometime later. During his time working for Charlie I think he made a mistake, of which he was certainly sorry, but hey, that’s Charlie. Once he’s made his mind up and he’s done with you, he simply erases you from his life – for Charlie, it’s as easy as turning off a light.

So, after the parole hearing we barely had any time together. I had managed to fit in another visit, but due to my heavy schedule at that time I was cutting it really fine. I had also (as always) put myself under great pressure

to look good and would often change my mind on what outfit to wear, several times, and because of this I left the house in a terrible rush and had my foot to the floor all the way to the prison.

On this occasion, unfortunately, after clearing myself with security and getting Charlie’s canteen, I was a rather unacceptable twenty-three minuteslate. Anyway, when I finally got to Charlie he was pacing up-and-down like
a baying tiger and looked nothing like the man I knew. I immediately tried to excuse my lateness – pleading that it was my fault etc, etc, when suddenly he barked: “Shut the fuck up and sit down!” Never before had I been spoken to in this manner, I was shocked and stunned and instantly (unlike me) did as I was told; if any other person had spoken to me in that way, I would usually give them what for, and that would be that. However, this time was different, this order was given by a man known to the media as Charlie Bronson the scariest inmate in the system.

Immediately, the prison officer tried to reason with him, and again I stood up and said, “Look, don’t blame him, it’s my fault, and I will tell you why!” At which point Charlie snapped, aggressively and said: “Don’t fuckin’ bother, and listen, nobody is late for my visits, no one told me nuffin’! If you are late, call the prison and cancel the V.O. I won’t accept this from you or anyone!” I tried to tell him that sometimes unforeseen things happen, like traffic etc. But he was having none of it and said: “I don’t care, end of fuckin’ discussion!” I will admit, his eyes frightened me, it’s not often I feel fear, but I was glad of those bars between us that day. Anyway, with that and like the turning on of a tap, he switched back to the person I knew. For me, that was something of a turning point, because that was a Charlie I really didn’t think I’d ever be witness to. Food for thought, I guess.

After arriving home that evening, and for most of that night I was on edge. So, to help calm me down I went to a local pub, ordered a brandy, and sat pondering on the day’s events. Now, this must have hit me hard, because even at that time I was still shaking a little. I called Bamby who was on holiday, he kind of became my confidante; I know he was paparazzi and a bit of a maverick, but he was actually very comforting to me and said: “Look Paula, I care about you, fuck it all off if you are scared or having doubts, don’t go through with any of it!” I thanked him for his support and told him that I was OK (which was a lie), but just needed to talk to a friend.

Talking about friends, Tim Crowley was another who I checked out and introduced to Charlie, and the reason I arranged a meet for Tim was that he had asked me if he could be Charlie’s look alike. Charlie and I discussed it and I arranged a couple of visits prior to a photoshoot at Littledean Prison in Glouces- ter (always reminds me of Fred and Rose West) where we did a shoot with my friend in the photographer’s seat. Tim was really good in the role as Charlie.

Mind you, what helped was that I immediately warmed to him, which was fortu- nate because I had told him that if I didn’t, he would have been thrown into the rubbish skip along with so many others.

Tim became a prominent part on my journey, but sadly never showed me any compassion or support after the announcement of my split from Charlie. To be brutally frank, at first Charlie said Tim looked like a parrot and looked fuck all like him, and having been the only person to have ever of graced the same ten foot of space with them, not to mentioned, twiddled both their ‘tashes, I can honestly say that their moustaches are the only thing they have in common; that and the fact that Tim always dressed really smart for a visit. Introductions were something that I became good at, and for Tim Price, George Bamby, and the rest, if not for my intervention, none of them would have got anywhere near Charlie, which was conveniently forgotten once things for my husband and I turned sour. Nevertheless, despite their views and indeed what the gutter-press likes to print, Charlie and I have never broken contact.

Copies signed by CHARLIE BRONSON available from www.badboysbooks.net 

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