From blue blood to blue movies: porn baron risks family's wrath

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The Independent Online

His aristocratic credentials are impeccable. As the eldest son and heir of Lord Feversham, he once stood to inherit a £35m estate in Yorkshire and one of the finest stately homes in the country. But 36-year-old Jasper Duncombe, whose ancestors include a number of high-profile British statesmen, has turned his back on a life of landed luxury - and emerged as one of the country's leading pornographers.

As the son of a lord, the Hon Jasper Duncombe has a better claim than most to the title of "porn baron". His company - relishxxx.com - was set up for just £2,000 two years ago, and is today worth an estimated £3.5m. Now, in his latest venture, Mr Duncombe is said to be negotiating a deal to put pornographic vending machines - dispensing videos and DVDs - into pub toilets.

It's not his first radical innovation: Relish XXX recently began supplying NHS sperm banks with a selection of its videos.

Not everyone is impressed with Mr Duncombe's success, least of all his family. A spokesman for Lord Feversham said that he was unwilling to comment on private family matters, but Mr Duncombe himself admitted that he was now likely to be disinherited.

"I'm proceeding on the basis that I'm not going to get anything," Mr Duncombe said, adding: "I think I'm going to have to provide for both myself and any future family in the years to come."

It's a strange career choice for a man who was brought up in the lap of luxury at Duncombe Park, his family's 13,000-acre estate in North Yorkshire. He was educated at Gordonstoun school alongside Prince Edward, and his ancestors include Sir Charles Duncombe, an 18th-century Mayor of London, and Thomas Slingsby Duncombe, a radical MP and Chartist supporter during the 1840s.

His company has never been ashamed to play on its aristocratic roots - its first adult film was entitled To the Manor Porn. Mr Duncombe has always been something of a black sheep. In 1993 he was sentenced to three years in jail for attempted robbery, after holding up a surveillance shop while wearing a false moustache. His lawyer at the time argued that Mr Duncombe had never recovered from his mother's death from a drug overdose when he was eight years old.

Now the aristocrat says his life is back on track, and he is eager to devote all his energies to the growth of his company: "I've drawn a line under that part of my life. I was completely off the rails and did one or two things I shouldn't have, but that is all behind me now. I'm looking forward to the future, and the potential of Relish XXX."

Last year, Mr Duncombe and his business partner, Harry Colquhoun, whose wedding featured recently in society magazine Harpers & Queen, pocketed £750,000 through the sale of shares in their company. Relish XXX continues to sell material to the television channel Playboy TV, as well as distributing softcore movies, which are sold in high-street stores. More hardcore versions are mailed to customers from an address in Bruges in order to circumvent censorship laws. Mr Duncombe and his partner maintain a 30 per cent stake in the company, worth roughly £1m each, as well as drawing a "big salary".

"We're shifting stuff by the pallet-load," Mr Duncombe claimed. "We're now undoubtedly one of the major players in the UK market. We've had requests from all over the world for our films - even a Nigerian hospital, which was having trouble getting sperm donations."

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