Shropshire author links up with notorious friend Charles Bronson to pen horror story

A writer’s unlikely friendship with “Britain’s most violent inmate” Charles Bronson has resulted in a new crime horror novel.

Charles Bronson and Shropshire author Richard Booth
Charles Bronson and Shropshire author Richard Booth

Author Richard Booth, from Strefford, near Craven Arms, met Bronson, now known as Charles Salvador, via a project he is working on to develop interactive resources to support offender learners in prisons four years ago.

Bronson, who has been in prison for 46 years for crimes including armed robbery, is currently in HM Prison Woodhill in Milton Keynes.

He is soon up for parole and is campaigning for his hearing to be public.

He became known as the nation’s most notorious jailbird after numerous attacks on guards as well as attempts to strangle fellow prisoners and holding people hostage.

Bronson came up with the premise for the novel and created original artwork and poems – something he has become renowned and acclaimed for.

“A large proportion of the book was produced during lockdown. We turned something negative into a positive” said Bronson.

The front cover of the new book

Richard started working on the book, about a fictional prison and prisoner set in 1956 post war Britain, in November 2019. The bulk of it, including edits and re-writes, took place in lockdown.

He fitted the writing in around his full-time job as an Information Learning Technology coordinator at Shrewsbury Colleges Group.

The pair have been friends for four years and speak on the phone every day, with Booth visiting him monthly when restrictions allow.

“I know people’s first reaction is why become friends with Charlie?” said Richard. “We have gotten to know each other very well and share a love of music, art and writing.

“I have seen the real person behind the public face and it is someone who now wants to be free to create his art. He has more than served his time in prison.

“I’m really pleased with the book. It’s worked out better than I anticipated.

“We hope that people think it’s real. We’ve used real people in it, including people who existed at the time it is set. I did find writing it quite a dark and harrowing process,” he added.

Charles Bronson in 1997

“It’s not how I think, so I had to take myself to some very dark places.

“Most of the research was about asylums and harsh treatments like lobotomies and what used to happen to people who tried to escape. How the ‘mentally insane’, or how they were thought of, were treated, was very extreme.

“There were 19 drafts of the novel before it got to proof stage."

Bronson added: “I came up with the idea for the book and we co-wrote it. While it certainly isn’t based on me and is fictional, I was able to provide insight into what it feels like to be in prison.

“I really enjoy my friendship with Richard as well as spending time creating, whether it’s art or poetry.”

A small number of limited-edition copies of the book, signed by both authors are available to buy via Richard at rich1booth@hotmail.com.

The book can be purchased on Amazon. Search for Broadmarsh - Hell on Earth.

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