Amy Winehouse's troubled marital life took another turn for the worse yesterday when it emerged that her husband Blake Fielder-Civil had been arrested over an alleged £200,000 trial-fixing plot just days before he is due to appear in court over serious assault allegations.
Mr Fielder-Civil was taken into custody with four others on Thursday evening after police were tipped off by a national newspaper about the alleged plot. According to The Daily Mirror, reporters at the newspaper were approached by two men in late October who claimed they were involved in a deal to offer £200,000 to the alleged victim in Mr Fielder-Civil's forthcoming trial to change his story and flee to Spain in the hope that the case would collapse.
Mr Fielder-Civil and a second man, Michael Brown, are due to stand trial on Monday at Snaresbrook Crown Court for grievous bodily harm with intent, after an incident in the Macbeth pub in Hoxton, east London, in June 2006 that left a barman with serious facial injuries. Both men deny the accusations.
The paparazzi camped almost permanently outside Ms Winehouse's house in Camden, north London, must have thought they had the scoop of a lifetime on Thursday evening when, shortly before 5pm, a number of police officers made their way up the steps to the singer's house and rang the doorbell. When no answer was received, the crowbars came out and – in a matter of seconds – the door had been smashed open.
Against a backdrop of repeated flashes and the staccato clicks of camera shutters, the officers searched the inside of Ms Winehouse's home for the next three hours.
But the real drama of that evening was, in fact, unfolding five miles east of the singer's house outside a small flat in Bow, where a tearful Ms Winehouse was seen desperately hugging Mr Blake Fielder-Civil as he was led by eight plainclothes officers to a waiting police car.
Although police refused to name those taken into custody, a spokesperson did confirm that the arrests were related to next week's trial and said two 25-year-olds, a 22-year-old and a 19-year-old had been apprehended and were being questioned at an east London police station. Monday's trial will almost certainly be delayed as police continue their investigation into the alleged plot.
Although there is no suggestion that Ms Winehouse had any knowledge of the alleged plot, the arrest of her husband will be extremely difficult for the award-winning singer who has had a particularly turbulent year, with drug allegations, arrests and concert no-shows splashed across newspapers.
A spokesman for the singer stressed that the raid on her Camden house was not related to drugs and Ms Winehouse was not involved. "The only thing I can tell you is it has nothing to do with drugs and Amy is fine and she has not been charged or arrested," he said.
Both Ms Winehouse and her husband were known to be battling a number of drug addictions that has led to increasingly erratic behaviour from the soul star. Those who know the couple say they are deeply in love but have a habit of feeding off each other's self-destructive streaks, with repeated attempts at rehab over the past six months having limited success.
The couple met two years ago and secretly wed in May this year during a trip to Florida. In August, Ms Winehouse and Mr Fielder-Civil's parents made an extraordinary public intervention when they admitted on radio that their children were addicts and urged fans to stop buying Winehouse's records until she stopped using drugs.