Amy Winehouse’s husband plotted a £200,000 (€252,000) pay off for a pub landlord he had beaten up to skip a key court date, it was claimed today.
And Blake Fielder-Civil used his Grammy Award winning wife’s money to do it, London’s Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.
The jury was told that despite suffering a fractured cheekbone in a June 2006 beating by Fielder-Civil and Michael Brown, James King was ready to be bought off.
With the help of two middle men King, 36, of Risley, Derbyshire, struck a deal where he would withdraw his statement and “effectively throw the (court) case and not turn up” so that Fielder-Civil and Brown would have to be found not guilty of grievous bodily harm with intent, according to prosecutor Sean Larkin.
Anthony Kelly and James Kennedy acted as middlemen helping to broker the deal. Their role was also to “baby sit” King while they were all abroad when the trial was due to start, the court heard.
But the plot was exposed after the middlemen, aware that Fielder-Civil had good news value in being married to Winehouse, contacted the Daily Mirror in October 2007.
They tried to sell CCTV images of the attack outside a pub in Hoxton, east London, but boasted to Daily Mirror journalist Stephen Moyes there was an even “bigger story”.
Mr Moyes told the court: “He (Kelly) said that the victim of the assault, James King, was to be taken out of the country and paid some money so that it (the trial) would not happen. He was to be paid £200,000.”
When Mr Moyes asked if Winehouse knew about it, he was told: “Who do you think is paying for it?”
Mr Moyes told the jury that the men he met “appeared to be motivated by money.”
The June 2006 beating may have been a revenge attack because for “whatever reason” there had been a grievance from Brown towards King, Mr Larkin explained.
At around closing time Fielder-Civil and Brown had pounced on King, kicking him to the ground and inflicting serious injury. The brawl was caught on CCTV.
The jury was told that the plotters had been in contact with each other either by phone, text or in person several times in the run up to King making his taped withdrawal statement in November 2007.
King later told police that he had been the victim of two attacks within weeks in the summer of 2006. The first was the June GBH and the second was in July in which he was injured on the arm and neck.
He moved to east Sussex where two “heavy looking men” came to his home and threatened him. On a separate occasion two men again threatened him and stressed that he had to withdraw his statement, he claimed.
King claims he gave in because he had felt “let down” by the police and prosecutors and he had been in fear.
King told the court: “I was told I would need to write a withdrawal of my statement which would need to be videoed. I was told that I would have to say that I was under duress which was as far from the truth as possible.
“Apparently the video was for Amy Winehouse. It seems they were extorting her for money to make this go away.”
There is no evidence to suggest that she was part of the plot.
Mr Larkin told the jury: “On November 7, Amy Winehouse’s manager asked her bank for £8,000 (€10,000) which was withdrawn on November 8.
“The manager asked for more cash and Winehouse asked for £5,000 (€6,300) which she collected from the office in person.
“That may well accord with the £5,000 (€6,300) he (Kelly) wanted up front which he later told Stephen Moyes he had received.”
Detectives investigated the second alleged attack against Mr King but three doctors who examined his injuries said they “appeared to be self inflicted,” Mr Larkin reported.
King refused to give his fingerprints and only his DNA was found on the blade that was the possible weapon. The CCTV cameras pointing at the scene had been switched off, the court heard.
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, of Carlshalton, Surrey, has pleaded guilty to the same offences.
Both Kelly, 25, of Chalk Farm, North London and Kennedy, 19, of Hatfield, Hertfordshire, have pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice around November 2007.
All are to be sentenced at a later date.
The hearing was adjourned to tomorrow.