18 Jan 2009

Boy George jailed for imprisoning escort in flat

12:42 pm on 18 January 2009

Boy George has been jailed for 15 months for falsely imprisoning a male escort in his flat in east London.

The singer, whose real name is George O'Dowd, denied the charge and claimed the victim, Norwegian Audun Carlsen, 29, had stolen photos from his laptop, the BBC reports.

O'Dowd, 47, admitted handcuffing him to a wall in April 2007 but said he did so in order to trace the missing property.

At Snaresbrook Crown Court Judge David Radford told the former Culture Club singer he was guilty of "gratuitous violence".

The singer, best known for 1980s hit Karma Chameleon, was also ordered to pay £5,000 costs.

The two men first came into contact through a gay social-networking site and met up for a pornographic photo shoot at O'Dowd's Shoreditch flat, the court was told.

O'Dowd believed Mr Carlsen stole data, including personal photographs from his laptop, during the photo shoot.

The court was told that weeks later O'Dowd invited the Norwegian back to his flat and it was then that he, with the help of a second man, chained Mr Carlsen to his bed and beat him.

Mr Carlsen testified that he was manacled to the bed, but managed to escape and ran from the flat wearing only his boxer shorts, trainers and a pair of handcuffs.

During the trial the court heard that the escort sold the story of his ordeal to a Norwegian magazine for £5,500, which he said he needed to flee the United Kingdom as he was "too scared".

Singer's previous convictions

O'Dowd has previous convictions for theft as a juvenile in 1977 and a drugs offence 10 years later.

He was also given community service in New York in 2006 after admitting to falsely reporting a burglary at his flat there.

Boy George, who is now a DJ, was one of the most well-known stars and recognisable faces in the 1980s.

With Culture Club he notched up seven British and nine American Top 10 hits and sold more than 50 million records.

He has also struggled with drug addictions and he told the world about his personal battle in his autobiography Take It Like A Man.