Doherty put in isolation 'for his own protection'

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The Independent Online

It seemed that nothing could get worse for the jailed rock star Pete Doherty: first he lost his supermodel girlfriend Kate Moss, then he was locked up in Wormwood Scrubs for breaching bail conditions, and soon it was alleged he was taking heroin behind bars.

Now it appears that even his fellow inmates have it in for the singer, following revelations that he had been placed in an isolation cell for his own protection.

The Babyshambles front man has been segregated from other prisoners amid rumours that they were plotting an attack on him. He is serving a 14-week sentence in the notoriously rough London prison after breaking the terms of his bail on drugs offences.

Prison officers had told Doherty of a plot against him, which was when he asked to be moved to a solitary cell. The singer's solicitor, Sean Curran, confirmed that he had been separated for his own safety. He would not say whether this was because inmates were planning an attack.

It has been reported that Doherty was sharing the segregation unit with 15 other inmates, but Mr Curran said: "There may be different parts to the unit, but he's on his own."

The Prison Service declined to comment on the location of individual inmates.

Earlier this week, The Sun claimed the 29-year-old was still taking heroin in jail, despite being given the substitute methadone. A Prison Service spokesman told the newspaper: "We will act on any intelligence which indicates drugs are being smuggled or abused."

While this week's developments have left many feeling sympathy for the incarcerated singer, the Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe was pleased at the news that Doherty is behind bars. She said the talented musician's imprisonment was "long overdue".

"The fact that he got away with it for so long was sending out the wrong signals," she told the pop music magazine NME. "When someone is in the public eye and sets the wrong example, there should be a crackdown.

"Rehabilitation does not go far enough in Pete's case, because we need to send out a signal that what he was doing was illegal. It's good that an example has been made."

Doherty began his sentence last week, and is due to be released in the second week of May.

In 2003, Doherty was jailed after admitting that he had burgled the flat of his then band-mate Carl Barat. And last year, Doherty was sentenced to four months in prison for possessing a class-A substance, but this was suspended in the hope he would keep to his promise of quitting drugs altogether.

The singer-songwriter first became widely known thanks to his on-off relationship with Kate Moss. But in the music world, he was already well respected for fronting the band The Libertines, whose album of the same name went to number one in the UK charts.

However, the singer's drug problems tore the band apart, leaving Barat to form the splinter group Dirty Pretty Things, and Doherty to set up Babyshambles.