Facing jail in US over drugs, Boy George flies back to Britain

He refused to comment on the arrest as he arrived at Heathrow airport. " I am not speaking to anybody about it," the 44-year-old musician told reporters at Heathrow. "Don't ask me any questions because you aren't going to get any answers. It's nice to see you, though," he added, as airline staff escorted him out of the terminal building.

Police arrested the British musician on Friday after he called them to report a burglary at his flat in New York's Little Italy. An NYPD spokesman said he was charged with possessing cocaine and falsely reporting an incident. He added that officers found cocaine in plain view.

Boy George appeared in Manhattan Criminal Court dressed in tracksuit bottoms after a night in custody.

The Manhattan district attorney's spokeswoman, Barbara Thompson, said the former Culture Club frontman was released on Saturday after being charged with drugs possession. He must return to New York for a nother hearing on 19 December when he could face up to 15 years in jail if found guilty.

A lawyer for the musician has denied that drugs found in his New York apartment belonged to the star. "It was a small amount of drugs," Lou Freeman told the New York Post. "He doesn't know where it came from. He's had a lot of people in his house. A man who has something to hide does not call police."

George's former agent Tony Denton echoed denials that the drug was owned by the musician. Mr Denton said: "He called the police himself. He actually thought somebody was breaking into the apartment. They turned up and searched the apartment and found traces of cocaine on the computer table, which George has said he was not taking and was nothing to do with him.

At the moment, he can go in and out [of the US] as he feels. Other people were staying in the flat and people are there frequently, so obviously somebody else is doing it."

If he is found guilty, he will struggle to continue his life in New York as a successful DJ. The human rights lawyer Mark Stephens said: "Boy George is innocent until proved guilty, but if he's found guilty it could have major implications for him to be allowed into the US. He would effectively be excluded. If there's going to be an exception made it has to be made at a high level - the Attorney General. He would have to get permission to be allowed into the country."

Boy George ­ real name George O'Dowd ­ moved to the United States in 2003 when his musical Taboo, based on a 1980s London club night, moved to Broadway. It received negative reviews in the US and closed after three months.

He first became famous with the Culture Club single "Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?" In 1983, the band dominated the singles charts with " Church Of The Poison Mind" and "Karma Chameleon", which was the biggest selling single of the year, spending six weeks at number one.

His flamboyant androgynous style, extravagant lifestyle and soulful voice, coupled with memorable comments such as preferring a nice cup of tea to sex, launched him into superstardom as he became a household name across the world. He made a guest appearances in the highly-successful Miami Vice show.

But his meteoric rise and success was coupled with a debilitating heroin addiction, costing up to £700 a day. In 1987, he kicked the drug after a doctor warned him that would be dead in three months if he did not kick the addiction.