Charles Bronson wants to 'become an artist and run London Marathon'

Charles Bronson’s first wife reveals Britain’s most notorious prisoner wants to ‘become an artist and run the London Marathon’ if he is released – and misses eating his favourite Magnum ice creams

Charles Bronson wants to become an artist and run the London Marathon if he is ever released, his first wife has said after visiting him for the first time in nearly 50 years. 

Irene Dunroe – who split with Britain’s most notorious prisoner in 1976 – saw him in person at HMP Woodhill on Tuesday. She revealed he wants to rekindle their relationship and even spoke about buying her a ring. 

The mother of three Ann Summers worker, who like Bronson is now single, said she was unsure about getting back together with him but planned to visit again over Christmas and bring his favourite Magnum ice creams. 

Bronson was last denied parole in March 2023. But Ms Dunroe, 71, hopes he can get out soon and live out some of his dreams. 

‘When he’s released he wants to open a studio called the Salvador Studio and he wants to buy 12 old prison cell doors and create artwork over the doors and sell them as a set,’ she said. 

Irene Dunroe, 71, visited Charles Bronson, 70, in person at HMP Woodhill last week for the first time in five decades where the former lovebirds discussed their relationship

Bronson, who changed his last name to Salvador in 2014, is even thinking of buying Ms Dunroe a ring

‘He’s also been offered to do a one-off bare knuckle fight and Mick was telling us about that.

‘The whole visit was just amazing, he’s so cheerful and he makes you laugh, you certainly don’t feel threatened by him. We actually want to go and run the London marathon when he comes out.’   

Ms Dunroe, from Brimstage on the Wirral, claimed Bronson was angling for them to get back together. 

She said: ‘I think he probably does want more than friendship. I wasn’t really thinking about that as there’s too much going on in my head at the moment. I just want him out.

READ MORE: Charles Bronson’s first wife reveals how her ‘protective and handsome’ husband would punch people’s heads in at the end of a night at the pub – but insists he ISN’T violent

‘He said I haven’t changed at all and he was looking into my eyes and saying you’ve still got the same gorgeous eyes. He was full of compliments.

‘He’s always saying that he wants to try the relationship, and that he’s always loved me – that I’m his first love.

‘We don’t know what’s in the future but he says he wants to get a ring for me for Christmas so he is thinking things like that. But I’m not sure on all of that yet.’

Ms Dunroe and Bronson met when they were teenagers and married soon after. She said she was taken by his dapper dress sense and Cockney accent.

They married in 1971 and have a son, also Michael, now aged 51. But the pair divorced just five years later while Bronson was serving time for armed robbery.

Both remarried, Bronson twice and Irene once. She also had two other children with her second husband.

Ms Dunroe, who visited Bronson with her daughter, said: ‘I ran up to him as soon as I walked in. He picked me up and spun me around as I hugged him.

‘He showed me some of his tattoos and he took one of his socks off which had moustache all over them and the tattoo had my name on it, which I didn’t know about.

‘He was talking about when he gets out he said he’s going to take me on holiday.

‘We got Mick some things from the shop there and we gave him some chocolate bars and he was made up – he was so pleased with all that.

Bronson was first locked up for armed robbery in 1974, and during his time inside he has taken 11 hostages in nine prison sieges and has attacked at least 20 prison officers

Bronson lost his latest bid for freedom when a Parole Board ruled he might not be able to control violent outbursts if he is released

‘We’re going to see him again before Christmas and hopefully we’ll be able to get him a proper Magnum ice cream, which he loves.

‘It was so lovely to see him and he was laughing with the guards and they all said he was a nice bloke and does no harm to anybody.

‘He was telling us about the different times in prison and the song that was at number one when we first got divorced.

‘What upset me though was the fact that his skin was as white as a sheet, it was like white snow and his eyes have gone so pale.

‘He used to have jet black eyes and had naturally tanned skin like me and that’s what really upset me.

‘It shows you what he’s been through – kept in the dark in solitary confinement for years and years. But he’s so positive and he’s behaved well for eight years now, he’s not violent now.

‘He said that he thinks if he hadn’t been in prison all this time he probably never would have brought his art out.

‘He showed us this exercise that he’s invented called the Bronson Crocodile – which is when you go in a long line of press ups one way and then the other and it was amazing. He was singing his head off to us and he’s got an amazing voice.’

Ms Dunroe (right) appears on Loose Women in 2018 alongside Bronson’s third wife and ex-Coronation Street actress Paula Williamson (left) where the pair discussed their friendship

Bronson has spent most of his life behind bars.

He was first jailed in 1974, aged 22, when he was given seven years for armed robbery.

But bad behaviour inside gave him a reputation as a dangerous inmate, and he wasn’t release until 1987.

Bronson then spent just 69 days as a free man before being rearrested and jailed again after robbing a jewellery shop.

He was sentenced to another seven years and, bar another brief spell of freedom in 1992, has been in prison since. 

Ms Dunroe said she and Bronson kept in touch via letter before they started speaking over the phone.

She said: ‘We’ve become more and more friendly over the years. When he rings me we always talk about the old days. It seems like yesterday.

‘He also talks to my daughter and granddaughter on the phone and he makes them laugh. He’s very generous and he sends me a hamper every Christmas.’

‘When I was with him, he was just Michael Peterson when we were married.

‘Every letter he used to write to me from prison I didn’t know if it was a good letter or bad letter at the time.

‘I just know a lot of the things that went on in prison and I know the real reasons in a lot of cases why he did what he did, and that hasn’t been disclosed.’

Ms Dunroe appeared on This Morning to defend Bronson and revealed how the man dubbed Britain’s most violent prisoner is ‘protective, kind and compassionate’.

Although she’s not sure on their future yet, Irene says she ‘might consider’ getting re-married.

She said: ‘I might consider it, but I don’t know. I’m not sure about all that yet, but we’ll see. We’re always going to be very good friends, and we did think a lot of each other.

‘You don’t know how things are going to pan out, I never thought 50 years ago that he’d still be in prison. We have a lot of respect for each other. 

‘He talked about taking me out for a lovely meal and asks what I want and about walking on the sand of a beach and going swimming. He just lifts me up, he’s so positive you wouldn’t believe it.’

Bronson lost his latest bid for freedom in March when a Parole Board ruled he might not be able to control violent outbursts if he is released. 

The panel ruled it ‘could not be satisfied’ that Bronson had the ‘skills to manage his risk of future violence until he has been extensively tested outside of his current highly restricted environment’.

The notorious prisoner, who has gone by the name of Salvador since 2014, was deemed still a threat to the public despite protesting he was a ‘man of peace’, as it was also ruled he should not be moved to an open prison.

Bronson was first locked up for armed robbery in 1974, and during his time inside he has taken 11 hostages in nine prison sieges and has attacked at least 20 prison officers and caused £500,000 in damage in rooftop protests.

Bronson seen at his parole hearing in a sketch by the artist Elizabeth Cook 

Eventually, in 1999, he received a life sentence for kidnapping a prison art teacher. His last conviction for a violent offence was in 2014 when he was tried for assault.

The appeal was only the second in English legal history to be held in public. Afterwards, Bronson’s son, George Bamby, said: ‘I would have loved Charlie to have been released, but completely respect the decision of the Parole Board.’

In a statement, the board said: ‘After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress that Mr Salvador has made while in custody and the evidence presented at the hearings, the panel was not satisfied that Mr Salvador was suitable for release.

‘Nor did the panel recommend to the Secretary of State that he should be transferred to an open prison.

‘The panel noted that Mr Salvador has spent most of the last 48 years in custody and that much of this time has been in conditions of segregation.

‘The panel accepted that Mr Salvador genuinely wants to progress and that he is motivated to work towards his release. It thought that there was evidence of improved self-control and better emotional management.’

Bronson suffers from PTSD because of his ‘brutal’ treatment in prison, a previous hearing was told. 

Ms Dunroe appeared on This Morning in 2017 where she defended Bronson and revealed how the man dubbed Britain’s most violent prisoner is ‘protective, kind and compassionate’. 

In an interview with then hosts Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford, she claimed the he was not violent, despite him ‘having fights at the end of the night’.

She described her ex-husband as a ‘handsome and protective man’.

She said the pair met in a pub called The Bull in Great Sutton, Cheshire, and instantly hit it off.

‘He was always very immaculate; he had jet black hair, thick sideburns and a little Mexican moustache.

‘He was such a gentleman, he used to open car doors for me he was protective as well.’

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