Charles Bronson’s first wife ‘cannot rest’ until Britain’s most violent prisoner is free

Irene Dunroe was married to notorious British prisoner Charles Bronson when he was first imprisoned in 1974 and says he is a product of his surroundings and must be released

Irene Dunroe remains in regular contact with her ex-husband
Irene Dunroe remains in regular contact with her ex-husband

First wife of Britain’s most notorious prisoner Charles Bronson says she “can’t rest until he’s out of prison”.

Irene Dunroe has kept in regular contact with her ex-husband through telephone calls and letters to HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes.

The 70-year-old from Barnston in Wirral believes the prisoner, also 70, only became violent “in retaliation” for his treatment, reports the Liverpool echo.

She still refers to him by his birth name, Michael “Mick” Peterson, and claims he’s now turned his back on crime.

Irene said Bronson, who lived in Ellesmere Port, hopes a public parole hearing this summer will result in his release.

He was first jailed for armed robbery in 1974.

During his time in prison he has taken hostages in 10 sieges, attacked at least 20 officers and caused £500,000 in damage during rooftop protests.

Charles Bronson is widely regarded as Britain’s most dangerous prisoner



Irene with son Mike


Andrew Teebay (Liverpool Echo)

Bronson is currently serving a life sentence for taking art teacher Phil Danielson hostage at HMP Hull after he criticized one of his drawings.

He has spent more than 45 years behind bars where he has earned the reputation of Britain’s most violent and notorious prisoner.

He was briefly released in 1988 before returning to prison soon after.

The prisoner has spent a long time in solitary confinement and has been moved to countless facilities across the UK.

Irene claims he “had some of the worst living conditions of all time.”

Bronson was first incarcerated in 1974


Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

She said: “His crimes stem from how he was treated inside in retaliation.

“The way he was treated, some of the things you wouldn’t believe. He wrote to me earlier and told me what happened.

“The prison had to get him glasses because he was kept in the dark all the time. He was fed through a hole in the door, he was just treated like an animal.

“No wonder – when you treat an animal [badly] constantly this animal will turn over time, and he did.”

Irene and Mike


Andrew Teebay (Liverpool Echo)

Irene and Bronson first met at the age of 19, later married and had a son together, Michael.

The couple’s wedding took place just two years before Bronson was first imprisoned.

But it wasn’t until he was convicted in court that Irene said she learned of the crimes he had committed.

Now, Irene has decided to share her side of the story with the release of her new book, The Truth, The Whole Truth, and Nothing but the Truth.

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The book reveals the reality of a family left behind after Bronson was imprisoned and how Irene endured years of turmoil and uncertainty as she tried to rebuild her life without him.

“People said maybe I could help other women who went through the same situation, to show that you can go on with your life and survive this, even though it has a lot of repercussions,” Irene said.

Irene said she still suffers from flashbacks to the day Bronson, now Charles Salvador, first went to jail and recalls the time he was missing for weeks before his arrest.

When she was brought to his cell at the local police station with his father, Bronson said, “I’m so sorry, Irene, I’m just so sorry, Irene.”

She said, “I didn’t even know what he had done, he never told me.”

Irene has remarried twice and went without any contact with Bronson for years.

She said: “He said he can’t wait to get out and buy a lot of clothes. He can’t wait to eat steak, mushrooms and onions – he’s really looking forward to that and fish and chips.

She added: “I just want him out of jail. I can’t rest until he’s out of prison. He deserves to be out of prison – it was his whole life.

“He’s not into crime anymore. He just wants to enjoy his final years in peace.”

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