Bronson art 'to pay for holiday'



Artworks by notorious violent prisoner Charles Bronson are to be sold to pay for a holiday for his mother after she was upset by his recent attack on prison guards, an auction house has said.

Bronson requested the eight pieces be sold after what was reported to be an attack on 12 guards at HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes, JP Humbert Auctioneers said.

It was claimed that furious Tottenham Hotspur fan Bronson went on the rampage in May while smeared with butter after arch-rivals Arsenal won the FA Cup.

The artworks belonged to Ronnie Kray, and are among 150 lots from the estate of the renowned East End gangster - who died in 1995, that are being sold by his second wife Kate.

Auctioneer Jonathan Humbert said: "Charles Bronson recently had a 'rumble' with 12 prison guards. In a letter to Kate Kray, he states remorse at upsetting his mother and accordingly, asked if some of his artwork could be included in the sale so as to generate funds to send his mother on holiday.

"The intimate and personal nature of these never-before seen Kray items and Bronson paintings show a real human side to these larger than life personalities and, though they are bound to polarise opinions, the lots, much like the individuals, are far from dull."

Bronson, 61, whose real name is Michael Peterson, is currently serving a life term at Woodhill and has earned public notoriety with a history of violence both inside and outside jail.

Ronnie Kray and twin brother Reggie, together with older brother Charlie, were infamous for their involvement running organised crime rackets in London's East End and were both jailed for life in 1969 for the murders of fellow gangsters George Cornell and Jack "The Hat" McVitie.

During their prison terms, Ronnie was held at Broadmoor Hospital in Berkshire, while Reggie was held at jails including the high-security HMP Parkhurst on the Isle of Wight.

The auction house said the sale in Towcester, Northamptonshire, on June 17 included personal items from Ronnie Kray's Broadmoor prison cell, including his reading glasses.

The sale also includes a miniature birdcage clock, watches including his favourite 18 carat gold Longines wristwatch, a domino set, cufflinks, dinner jackets, a crucifix, other paintings, numerous letters and other "personal mementos" from his pre-prison and prison years.

Mr Humbert added: "This is a very important and eclectic sale of British social history. And with the perennial interest in the Krays - and the fact that these artefacts hark back to a bygone era of 'East End gangs' - it is sure to generate a lot of global interest.

"The Krays were hardened criminals, without a doubt but they were also, in the public perception, nice to old ladies and children and were always immaculately turned out.

"Whilst we in no way seek to glorify their crimes, they certainly had style and that is what people remember."