Man beaten up by Fielder-Civil 'was paid £200,000 bribe'

By Jerome Taylor
Sunday 23 October 2011 02:50

A pub landlord who was beaten so badly by Amy Winehouse's husband that he needed metal plates put in his face accepted a £200,000 bribe to try to save his attacker from jail, a court heard.

James King, 36, needed hospital treatment after the attack by Blake Fielder-Civil and his friend Michael Brown outside The Macbeth pub in Hoxton, east London, in 2006.

But, instead of testifying against his assailants, the court was told, Mr King agreed to accept a £200,000 bribe if he went abroad for the duration of the trial. Sean Larkin, for the prosecution, told Snaresbrook Crown Court in London that Anthony Kelly and James Kennedy acted as middlemen to broker the deal.

He told the jury: "What we can say, based on the evidence, is that the deal was that Mr King would prepare what is known as a withdrawal or retraction statement saying he no longer wished to pursue the prosecution, that he would not turn up to give evidence to the trial, that he would leave the country so that the court or the police would not be able to find him to bring him to court for the trial and that Mr King expected to be paid something in the order of £200,000."

Mr Larkin said Kelly and Kennedy also expected to be paid a £20,000 cut for organising it.

"There was talk of £20,000 and the attackers, Mr Brown and Mr Fielder-Civil, expected to be found not guilty – and that was their private deal," he said. "They told no one, the police, the prosecution service or the courts."

The alleged plot was exposed when Kelly and Kennedy approached the Daily Mirror hoping to sell footage of the attack which had been captured on CCTV. Realising Fielder-Civil had "news value" because of his marriage to Amy Winehouse, they tried to sell the story, he said.

But the pair also bragged that there was a "bigger story". The jury heard how the pair admitted Mr King was going to go abroad for the duration of the trial and would be paid for doing so. The Daily Mirror contacted the police once it transpired there was a plot to bribe Mr King, Mr Larkin said.

Fielder-Civil was arrested in November and his wife was also arrested and questioned. She was released without charge and there is no suspicion she was involved in the bribery plot.

Fielder-Civil and Brown face jail sentences after admitting last week to grievous bodily harm and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

Kelly and Kennedy have pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. But Mr King, who denies conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, claims to have been a victim who was intimidated into accepting the plan.

The trial continues.