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A PUB landlord who was beaten up by Amy Winehouse’s husband accepted a £200,000 (€250,000) bribe to try to save his attacker from jail, a court heard yesterday.
Despite suffering a fractured cheekbone in the June 2006 attack by Winehouse’s husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, and Michael Brown, James King was ready to be bought off, the court was told.
With the help of two middle men, King, 36, of Risley, Derbyshire, struck a deal where he would “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.
He told London’s Snaresbrook Crown Court that Anthony Kelly and James Kennedy acted as middle men, helping to broker the deal.
But the plot was exposed by the Daily Mirror, which was contacted by Kelly and King.
Aware Fielder-Civil, in being married to the Grammy-winning star, had “news value” they tried to sell the story. As further bait they boasted there was a “bigger story” than the beating, claiming that King was being paid to skip town to save the attackers jail, Mr Larkin told the jury.
The Daily Mirror later went to the police.
King denies conspiracy to pervert the course of justice with Brown, Fielder-Civil, Kelly and Kennedy.
Mr Larkin told the jury: “What we can say, based on the evidence, is that the deal was that Mr King would prepare what is known as a withdrawal or retraction statement saying he no longer wished to pursue the prosecution, that he would not turn up to give evidence to the trial, that he would leave the country, so that the court or the police would not be able to find him to bring him to court for the trial and that Mr King expected to be paid something in the order of £200,000.
“The middle men, Mr Kelly and Mr Kennedy, obviously expected to get a cut of it.
“There was talk of £20,000 and the attackers Mr Brown and Mr Fielder-Civil expected to be found not guilty — and that was their private deal.
“They told no one, the police, the prosecution service or the courts.”
Fielder-Civil, 26, of Camden, north London, has pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm and also to perverting the course of justice.
Brown, of Carshalton, Surrey, has also admitted the same offences.
Kelly, 25, of Chalk Farm, north London, and Kennedy, 19, of Hatfield, Hertfordshire, have also pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice in November 2007.
All are to be sentenced at a later date.
The June 2006 beating may have been a revenge attack, said Mr Larkin.
Brown had previously dated one of King’s friends, the court heard.
The brawl was caught on CCTV and Kennedy and Kelly later tried to sell images to the Daily Mirror.
Their first meeting with Daily Mirror journalist Stephen Moyes was in October 2007.
Of this meeting, Mr Larkin said: “Stephen Moyes asked whether or not Amy Winehouse was involved. He was told by Kelly, ‘Who do you think is paying for it? Of course she is’.”
But there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that she was part of the plot.
King later told police he was the victim in all of this and had been intimidated.
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