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Monday, January 19, 2009

Boy George sobs 'They'll kill me' to inmate

EXCLUSIVE by Nick Owens and Piers Eady 17/01/2009

Cell mate tells of blind panic when he told Boy George: 'You're gay and a celebrity - the other prisoners will come after you.'

Boy George (Pic: Pixel)

Terrified Boy George wept as he was sent to prison and said: “I can’t go to jail… they will try to kill me because of who I am.”

The fallen pop idol broke down and revealed his fears to a fellow prisoner in a court holding cell before he was sent to tough Pentonville Prison in North London.

Richard Lyttle, a father of five held in the same cells on a driving charge, told the bloated former Culture Club singer how to survive life at the category B prison.

But he warned him: “Prisoners will be out to beat you up.”

Richard, 40, from Romford, East London, said: “When I walked into the cell I saw this fat, bald bloke sitting in the corner crying like a baby. He was shaking like a leaf, a total wreck.

“He kept sobbing over and over, ‘I can’t go to jail – I’ll be killed.’

“He was crying about how he was just a fat old pop star that everyone was laughing at.”

George, 47 (real name George O’Dowd) was put in a holding cell at Snaresbrook Court, East London, with five other men on Friday afternoon. He was held there after a judge sentenced him to 15 months for falsely imprisoning Norwegian male escort Audun Carlsen, 29, and thrashing him with a chain.

Richard said that as he walked into the cell one of the other prisoners was hurling abuse at the gay singer. “The bloke was shouting, ‘Don’t talk to him, he is a batty boy.’ (offensive Jamaican term for a homosexual).

“I walked over to him and said, ‘What’s the problem, mate?’

“He looked and me and said, ‘I’m George O’Dowd.’ I was confused and he screamed, ‘I’m Boy George.’ He broke down in tears and couldn’t stand up because he was so upset.

“All the other prisoners were shouting at him to stop making so much noise so he just kept his head bowed. I felt a bit sorry for him.”

Unemployed Richard, who was later bailed for driving while disqualified, has been locked up three times for assorted driving offences and for attempting to obtain money with malice.

He explained to George how he would have his mobile phone taken from him when he arrived and that he would be strip-searched before being put in a prison uniform and locked up.

Richard said: “He was shaking as he listened and kept asking what other inmates would make of him. I warned him that because of who he was and because he was gay people would be out to beat him up.”

George, who sold more than 25 million records with his band Culture Club in the 1980s, then broke down again, mumbling that nobody would have any sympathy for him.

Richard said: “He said he felt all alone and wouldn’t be able to cope in prison. He was gutted, emotional and just all over the place.”

As Richard was called back into court from the cell, George grabbed his hand and begged him to look after him if they both ended up in Pentonville. “He was pleading with me to look after him. I said I wasn’t going to be sent down and he just broke down again,” he said.

“I joked that it wasn’t all bad and said he might even find himself a new boyfriend inside prison. But he just started crying again. As I walked out he was a shaking, quivering wreck. There is no way he will cope inside.”

Yesterday George, a former heroin addict and a recovering cocaine addict, was put on suicide watch after arriving at Pentonville.

He was also moved to the hospital wing to keep him away from the prison’s other 1,000-plus inmates.

Jail insiders revealed the former singer was mobbed by other prisoners when he walked into the reception area, some asking for his autograph. A jail source told the Sunday Mirror: “Governors took the decision to move Boy George to the hospital wing for his own safety.

“He is openly gay, and also a celebrity, which makes him a massive target for somebody who wants to make a name for themselves.

“Boy George would be extremely vulnerable in a normal wing and his safety could not be guaranteed.”

Prison guards have been told to regularly check to make sure he is not harming himself, or is in danger of attack.

While in the hospital wing – where Amy Winehouse’s husband Blake Fielder-Civil was recently held – George will undergo psychological assessment.

His family and friends gasped as he was jailed for 15 months on Friday. In April 2007 he shackled Audun to a hook on a bedroom wall in his flat in Shoreditch, East London, and thrashed him with a chain.

George told police he detained Carlsen, who he had met through the Gaydar website, while he investigated suspicions that the Norwegian had tampered with his laptop computer. But Carlsen said the singer concocted that story after tying him up as punishment for not having sex with him at an earlier meeting.

Before jailing George, Judge David Radford told him: “Your pre-meditated, calculated, callous and

humiliating handcuffing and detention of Mr Carlsen shocked, degraded and traumatised him.”

Because of his conviction, George is now unlikely to be granted a visa allowingt to perform again in the

US and Japan, where he is still a huge star.