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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Boy George handcuffed escort for hacking computer, court hears

Jo Adetunji

Boy George outside Snaresbrook crown court where he is standing trial accused of assaulting and falsely imprisoning a male escort

Boy George outside Snaresbrook crown court where he is standing trial accused of assaulting and falsely imprisoning a male escort. Photograph: Tim Ireland/PA

The singer Boy George handcuffed a male escort to the wall by his bed after accusing him of breaking into his computer system, a court heard today.

Boy George, 48, whose real name is George O'Dowd, agreed to pay £400 to Audun Carlsen, a Norwegian working as a male escort, in April last year, prosecutors allege.

A jury at Snaresbrook crown court heard O'Dowd used a "heavy" - a burly assistant - to grab Carlsen and handcuff him to a fixture in his bedroom after a pornographic photo shoot.

The two men met after the singer contacted Carlsen in January last year to take the photographs. They took cocaine and O'Dowd performed a sex act on the escort, the court heard.

Carlsen said Boy George had appeared "wired" from taking cocaine and had left with only £300 after becoming uncomfortable. Later, O'Dowd accused Carsen of tampering with his computer.

Carlsen told the court that over the next two months he received a number of "bizarre" and accusatory emails, which he began to ignore. Some of the exchanges between the two were read out in court. Carlsen said the singer later apologised saying he'd accused the wrong person and agreed to the second meeting in April.

When they met again at O'Dowd's place, Carlsen was ambushed by the singer and another man, said the prosecutor, Heather Norton.

"Two men grabbed Carlsen and forced him to the floor. O'Dowd produced a set of handcuffs. They placed one end on Carlsen's right wrist and the other end to a hook that was screwed to a fixture near the bed.

"O'Dowd told the unidentified man to leave, which he did, then O'Dowd too left the room, leaving Carlsen alone, chained up. While he was unable to get loose, he managed to wrench the hook free."

The court was told that Carlsen was left "shaking and frightened".

"His fear was increased when O'Dowd returned to the room with a box ... inside were chains and leather straps. O'Dowd said: 'Now you're going to get it.'"

The court was told Carlsen broke free early the next morning and ran to a newsagent dressed in his boxer shorts and the handcuffs.

"O'Dowd tried to grab him and swung a chain at him, which hit him on the back. Carlsen, perhaps younger and fitter, was able to escape," said Norton.

O'Dowd told police he believed Carlsen had tampered with his computer and removed material. "He believed three or four people had accessed his computer and Carlsen was one of them," Norton said.

She said O'Dowd admitted to police that he knew Carlsen was "really scared" and that he had been "angry". Norton said O'Dowd had told police they were some "serious handcuffs" and that "you can't get out of them".

"Indeed, Carlsen had to be cut out by the fire brigade," Norton told the court.

She said O'Dowd had told police: "I will absolutely own up to handcuffing him. I wanted to find out if he was the person (who tampered with the computer)."

Norton said the jury would have to decide whether the singer really meant to hurt Carlsen and why he locked him up. O'Dowd denies a charge of false imprisonment.

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