Charles Arthur "Charlie" Salvador (formerly Charles Ali Ahmed; born Michael Gordon Peterson on 6 December 1952), better known as Charles Bronson, is an English criminal who has been referred to in the British press as the "most violent prisoner in Britain" and "Britain's most notorious prisoner". He has spent periods detained in the Rampton, Broadmoor and Ashworth high-security psychiatric hospitals.
First arrested as a petty criminal, he was convicted and sentenced in 1974 to seven years' imprisonment for armed robbery. Additional time was added due to attacks on prisoners and guards. Upon his release in 1987, he began a bare-knuckle boxing career in the East End of London. His promoter thought he needed a more suitable name and suggested he change it to Charles Bronson in 1987, after the American actor. He was returned to prison in 1988 after being convicted of planning another robbery. He was known as a violent inmate, and took numerous hostages in the course of confrontations with guards, resulting in his sentence later being changed to life imprisonment. He has been held at times in each of Britain's three prison psychiatric hospitals.
Because of his record of violence and mental illness in prison, Bronson is one of the highest-profile criminals in Britain. He has been featured in books, interviews, and studies in prison reform and treatment. He has said: "I'm a nice guy, but sometimes I lose all my senses and become nasty. That doesn't make me evil, just confused." He was the subject of the 2008 film Bronson starring Tom Hardy, a biopic based loosely on his life.
Bronson has written many books about his experiences and famous prisoners he has met throughout his incarceration. A self-declared fitness fanatic, who has spent many years in segregation (solitary confinement), Bronson dedicated a book to exercising in confined spaces. He has also cultivated a reputation as an outsider artist. His paintings and illustrations of prison and psychiatric hospital life have been publicly exhibited and won him multiple awards.
In 2014 he changed his name again, this time to Charles Salvador, in a mark of respect to Salvador Dalí, one of his favourite artists. He wanted distance from his reputation of violence. The Charles Salvador Art Foundation was founded to promote his artwork and "help those in positions even less fortunate than his own" to participate in art.