A pub landlord today denied taking a £200,000 (€252,600) bribe to save Amy Winehouse’s husband from jail for beating him up.
James King (aged 36), remembers screams of “let’s kill him, let’s do him” as he was punched and kicked on the ground by Blake Fielder-Civil (Winehouse’s husband) and his friend Michael Brown in June 2006.
King told London’s Snaresbrook Crown Court that Fielder-Civil came “flying out” with repeated kicks from a hiding place in an alleyway and joined Brown who had already punched him to the ground.
The attack took place at around closing time at the pub that King used to run in Hoxton, east London.
He was left needing surgery to insert a metal plate for a shattered eye socket, a plate was put in his cheekbone and pins now hold his jaw together. His nose was broken and he also suffered lower back injuries. King has also had to have counselling.
However, he told the jury today that he never intended to take a bribe in return for not showing up at Fielder-Civil’s and brown’s assault trial where he would be a key witness.
Unknown to King, Anthony Kelly and James Kennedy had gone to the Daily Mirror with this claim. The jury heard that in a meeting last October with Kelly that King had discussed money and travel plans.
He told the jury that during this meeting with Kelly, which King had not known had been recorded, he had felt “very anxious” and “wanted to give the impression that he was relaxed” because he felt intimidated.
Christopher Coltart, defending, asked: “We can hear on the tape there are discussions about the payment of money and travel plans. If either Mr Brown or Mr Fielder-Civil had been interested in legitimately compensating you for your injury is that something you would have been interested in?”
King replied: “I would have been interested if it was something done legally. I would have been interested in a payment for my injuries but I stress it would have had to have been done legally.”
Mr Coltart asked: “Did you ever have any intention of accepting unlawful sums, in other words, money in return for not turning up for trial (against Fielder-Civil and Brown)?”
King replied: “Absolutely not. I always had the intention to attend this court and give evidence against the people who attacked me.”
King denies conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Fielder-Civil, 26, of Camden, north London, has already pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm on King and also to perverting the course of justice.
Brown, 25, of Carshalton, Surrey, has pleaded guilty to the same offences.
Kelly, 25, of Chalk Farm, north London, and James Kennedy, 19, of Hatfield, Hertfordshire, have pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice around November last year. They are all to be sentenced at a later date.