Charles Bronson cleared of assaulting Wakefield prison governor

Notorious prisoner Charles Bronson smiled and broke into a celebratory jig after a jury cleared him of trying to seriously harm a prison governor.

Appearing by videolink from HMP Frankland in Durham, he hailed the not guilty verdict and said: “British justice, best in the world. Thank you.”

Bronson, 66, had legally represented himself in the four-day trial at Leeds Crown Court as he cross-examined witnesses and gave evidence in his defence from the dock while flanked by prison officers.

He often brought laughter to the court room as he peppered his defence with frequent quips about witnesses, jurors and the prosecutor, and chanted the oath and kissed the Bible when he was sworn in to give evidence.

But the trial judge, Tom Bayliss QC, told jurors that Bronson, appearing under the name Charles Salvador, was not a lawyer and did not think he meant any disrespect.

He even complimented Bronson for his cross-examination of the alleged victim when asking “pretty pertinent questions”.

Bronson was said to have lunged at Mark Docherty as he entered a room for a welfare meeting at HMP Wakefield on January 25.

He landed on top of Mr Docherty and allegedly screamed “I will bite your f****** nose off and gouge out your eyes”, before prison officers intervened and restrained him.

Representing himself at Leeds Crown Court, Bronson said he intended to give Mr Docherty a “gentle bear hug” and whisper in his ear, but tripped, or was tripped by someone, and fell.

The defendant admitted he partly blamed the governor at Wakefield’s segregation unit after he was told photographs of his prison wedding to actress Paula Williamson two months earlier would no longer be allowed to leave the jail until his release.

He said the authorities had “humiliated a beautiful woman on the greatest day of her life”.

Bronson said he intended to whisper “where’s my wife’s photos?” in what he described as a “wake-up call” to Mr Docherty to not mess with his family.

The court had heard how Mr Docherty suffered swelling to the neck, scratches to the face and whiplash following the incident, but Branson dismissed the injuries as “minor” and said he was “embarrassed to even discuss them”.

Bronson had told jurors that for the first time in his life he was an “innocent man”.

He said: “Since when is it a crime to hug your fellow man? There is not enough man hugs in this insane world today.”

Bronson admitted he had been a “very nasty man” as he described to the jury how in his 44 years in prison he had held 11 hostages in nine different sieges – including governors, doctors, staff and, on one occasion, his solicitor.

He had caused damage to nine prison roofs at an estimated cost of £5 million, he said, but explained he had been making progress at the time of the flare-up at HMP Wakefield in the hope he may earn parole “somewhere down the line”.

He had even passed a violence reduction course on the prison’s segregation unit, he added.

The prosecution had outlined some of Bronson’s previous convictions to show he had a tendency to commit unprovoked acts of violence, including as recently as 2014 when he grabbed the governor of HMP Woodhill in a headlock and punched him after he stopped his mail.

But Bronson, who is serving a life sentence for robbery and kidnap, said that was all in the past.

Jurors found Bronson not guilty of attempting to cause grievous bodily harm with intent, after deliberating for just short of three hours.

Mark Leech, Editor of The Prisons Handbook said: “I know Charlie, this case was defective from the start, but the CPS obviously thought that his previous well-known violence convictions would see them over the line – that is not the way to objectively view evidence.

“Bringing cases like this, and particularly when there are acquittals, helps no-one.

“It costs the taxpayer money they do not need to spend, it ties up court time in cases that should never get off the ground in the first place and, most of all, it does nothing to bring those who genuinely and seriously assault Prison Officers to justice.”

Prisoner jailed for fatal jail attack

A prisoner who attacked a fellow inmate causing his death a week later has been jailed for four years.

Alastaire Scott, 23, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of 28-year-old Frazer Stent at HMP Rochester and was jailed at Maidstone Crown Court.

The fatal attack took place in the Chilham Wing at the category Cprison on Sunday October 12, when inmates were allowed free movement on the wing.

Mr Stent had been part of a group of men involved in an altercation with a prisoner who was a close friend of Scott’s, Kent Police said.

He had been walking down a corridor, with Scott slightly behind him, and entered a cell where he spoke with two inmates inside.

While Scott remained outside the cell door, a few seconds later Mr Stent was pushed outside. With his attention focused on another inmate, Scott punched him to the right hand side of his head and he hit the ground with nothing breaking his fall.

Mr Stent was taken to Medway Maritime Hospital where a CT scan revealed bleeding on the brain. He was kept sedated throughout his time in hospital but his condition deteriorated and he died a week after being assaulted.

During interview Scott said he had carried out the attack because the victim had been involved in a confrontation with his friend but had not intended to kill him.

Detective Inspector Gavin Moss, senior investigating officer for the case, said: “Alastaire Scott’s decision to punch Frazer Stent was both reckless and stupid and the consequences could not be more tragic. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to the victim’s family.

“During interview Scott told officers he did not intend to kill his fellow inmate but that does not excuse his actions. He gave little thought to the consequences and the impact it would have on his victim, which in this tragic example could not have been worse.”

Holloway Prison Officer Jailed

Jailed Prison Officer Sophia King-Chinnery
Jailed Prison Officer Sophia King-Chinnery

A prison officer has been jailed after she enjoyed a secret lesbian romance with an inmate serving life for murder in a Holloway Prison.

Sophia King-Chinnery, 25, embarked on a relationship with Sarah Anderson after she was locked up at the notorious jail in Parkhurst Road for a minimum of 15 years for stabbing a cyclist to death in the street.

They exchanged hundreds of love letters in which Anderson addressed the prison officer as her “wife”, Southwark Crown Court heard.

King-Chinnery also allowed the inmate to keep a mobile phone for eight months so the pair could spend hours chatting to each other.

But the convicted murder was left distraught after hearing rumours that King-Chinnery was cheating on her.

After being confronted by bosses King-Chinnery accepted she had an “emotional relationship” with her jailbird lover after experiencing difficulties with her colleagues, but letters between the two were said to “make clear” the relationship was sexual.

King-Chinnery, of Hook Rise South, Surbiton, Surrey, admitted to two counts of misconduct in a public office and sobbed after she was sentenced to 10 months in prison on Friday.

Sentencing, Judge Michael Gledhill QC told her: “The fact of the matter is you were a prison officer and from the moment you became a prison officer, you were well aware of the rules, which don’t include having any sort of personal relationship with the prisoners that you are supposed to be looking after.

“I’m aware you will have a much harder time than others when serving your sentence but you brought that on yourself.”

Prosecutor Andrew Howarth said: “Clearly the relationship went further than an emotional one.’

“The letters made clear the nature of the relationship between the two women was sexual.”

The judge gave Anderson a concurrent three-month prison term after she admitted to causing the transmission of a sound or image from prison.

Back From The Dead Prison Officer Faces Jail

John-Darwin

The back-from-the-dead canoe fraudster, former Holme House prison officer John Darwin (left), from Hartlepool, is facing a return to prison after he left the UK without permission to meet a statuesque Ukrainian in a mini-skirt.

The 63-year-old was pictured in The Sun on a date with a blonde woman in her 20s in the town of Sumy, 1,500 miles from his home.

He was freed early on licence in January 2011 after being sentenced in 2008 to serve six years and three months for fraud.

That meant he was not allowed to leave the UK without Probation Service permission until all of his sentence was served.

A source close to the case said: “He is facing a return to prison for travelling abroad without permission.”

The Probation Service would not speak about individual cases but a spokesman said: “Any offender subject to licence supervision is required to gain permission from probation to travel outside of the UK; permission is only granted in exceptional circumstances.

“Any offender who travels without this permission will be subject to recall to custody.

“In these circumstances the Probation Service works closely with the police to implement the recall.”

It was believed Darwin was still in the Ukraine.

According to The Sun, Darwin and his date, a local woman named Anna, enjoyed a two-hour meal assisted by a translator, but the evening turned sour when he was confronted by a reporter.

The newspaper said Darwin first made contact with the woman over the internet.

He faked his own death in a canoeing accident in 2002 so his then wife Anne (right) could claim hundreds of thousands of pounds from insurance policies and pension schemes.

The couple, from Seaton Carew, were jailed at Teesside Crown Court in 2008 for the swindle, which deceived the police, a coroner, financial institutions and even their sons Mark and Anthony.

Darwin admitted fraud so received a slightly shorter sentence than Anne, who denied the offences. They have now divorced.

After faking his own death, Darwin continued to live in secret with his wife before they escaped to Panama to start a new life.

But in December 2007 Darwin walked into a London police station claiming he had amnesia and was reunited with his stunned sons.

His wife, then still in Panama, initially also claimed to be surprised – until a photograph emerged of them posing together.