Soap actress Paula Williamson: Marrying notorious prisoner Charles Bronson is not a publicity stunt
A soap actress who is engaged to Britain's most notorious prisoner Charles Bronson has denied she is marrying him for publicity and insisted their relationship is the "real deal".
Paula Williamson has seen Bronson just four times since they first met in November and has so far only kissed him through prison bars.
The 64-year-old inmate, born Michael Peterson and now called Charles Salvador having changed his name by deed poll, is serving a life sentence for robbery and kidnap and has earned public notoriety with a history of violence inside and outside jail.
However Ms Williamson told ITV's Good Morning Britain she is "not frightened at all" by Bronson, who she described as a "gentle giant".
"Charlie’s the first to admit that he’s done a lot of terrifying things and I’m aware of those things," she said.
"The Charlie that I know is not the same person that’s committed all those offences while he’s been incarcerated. He is that person, he’s committed these offences and he’s made these mistakes, but he’s a different character now."
Ms Williamson, who has had small parts in Emmerdale and Coronation Street, has known Bronson since 2013 when she wrote to the notorious criminal because she felt "connected with him" after reading a book that he had written about his time in prison.
When asked if the planned marriage was a publicity stunt, she said: "If I was doing it for any kind of publicity reasons, I wouldn’t get married to Britain’s most notorious prisoner, it would make no sense.
“I can understand that they [the public] would think that [this is complete madness]. This is going to brand me now. I’m branded now. I love him.
“I read a book that he’d written called Broadmoor. It was about his time and I found his spirit phenomenal and very inspiring.”
In a lively exchange with Good Morning Britain presenters Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, Ms Williamson added: "Not every couple are intimate for a long time.
"We can’t kind of comment on that as an entirety. It’s the real deal. I left drama school in 2005 and I’ve been working as a jobbing actress, a lot of my work isn’t just TV it’s other things, but now because I’m known as Charlie Bronson’s fiancée that’s going to tarnish certain things.”
Speaking of the wedding itself, Ms Williamson admitted they’re unsure when it will take place.
She said: “We don’t know – sooner rather than later. We’ll get married in prison, within the prison chapel, depending on where he is at that point.
“We’ve spoken about [who will be there]. I believe there’s about ten guests allowed and there’ll be a selection of Charlie and I’s family friends.”