BRITAIN’S most violent criminal Charles Bronson has launched a campaign urging youngsters to swap knives for art.
The 66-year-old — who has had his own paintings exhibited — is alarmed about the rise in knife crime and killings.
He has named the campaign “trash knives not lives” and is working on a booklet for schools from HMP Woodhill in Milton Keynes, Bucks.
T-shirts have been made to spread the word.
A source close to Bronson — now called Charles Salvador — said: “Knives can ruin lives.
“Charlie has managed to find peace through art. He wants youngsters to do the same.
“He’s urging them to put down the knife and pick up a paintbrush.”
Bronson’s art depicts the life he has spent behind bars and seems to be a window into the mind of a prolific prisoner.
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This summer, a dozen of his drawings which revealed his struggles with prison life, violence and mental health were showcased at a exhibition in London.
Bronson was jailed for armed robbery in 1974, but his time inside has been extended by spates of violence.
His ex-wife soap actress Paula Williamson was found dead at her home in Stoke at the end of July.
Britain's most notorious lag – how Bronson gained his grisly nickname
Armed robber Bronson has spent more than 44 years behind bars after repeatedly having his sentence increased for attacking prison staff and taking them hostage.
Writing in his 2000 book Bronson, he 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 first sentenced to seven years in jail over an armed robbery in 1974.
That was extended by nine months after he attacked a fellow prisoner with a glass jug.
He was then given an extra year in jail for holding a three-day rooftop protest that cost £100,000 in damages.
After a brief stint of freedom, he was found guilty of intent to robbery and sentenced to eight years in 1992.
His sentence was extended by eight years after he held a prison staff member hostage.
He again became involved in a hostage situation, which again resulted in a sentence extension.
He was finally given a life sentence after kidnapping a prison teacher in 1999, with the violent lag investigated for a number of other disturbances since, including allegedly throwing a bottle of human waste at a Muslim prisoner.
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