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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 April 2006, 14:08 GMT 15:08 UK
Doherty courts fans' affections
By Chris Leggett
BBC News entertainment reporter

Pete Doherty
Doherty turned up for court in jeans and a leather jacket
Singer Pete Doherty's latest court appearance, for sentencing on drug offences, meant another day out for the fans of the Babyshambles star.

The frontman's brushes with the law have led to regular court dates in recent months, but his biggest admirers still attend to lend their moral support.

Among those present to wish him well were Faye Angeletta, 17, and Rebecca Bourke, 16, both from Gravesend, Kent, and regulars at Doherty's court dates.

Faye said: "I've been up since 4am as we've come up for the day.

"Pete likes the fans to come along as it's nice for him to see friendly faces here."

The star's previous court appearances have had a Babyshambles concert atmosphere with fans playing guitars outside and donning T-shirts in support.

Faye Angeletta and Rebecca Bourke
Faye Angeletta and Rebecca Bourke are regulars at Doherty gigs

Prior hearings have also seen scuffles, including a fracas which saw Doherty kick a microphone out of the hand of a BBC Radio 1 reporter.

As Doherty had been warned he could be jailed for drug possession, it was perhaps no surprise that his arrival at Thames Magistrates' Court in Bow, east London, was more low-key than usual.

These days, low-key for Doherty - the on-off boyfriend of model Kate Moss - means a handful of fans and dozens of photographers, journalists and camera crews, waiting for him.

Doherty arrived alone and was whisked into the building from a car after a quick scrum with the media.

His case was first on the list in court number four, where members of the press filled a bench.

Secret photo

In the public gallery, the bemused family of another defendant due to appear sat watching the man the tabloids call "Potty Pete" up close.

If they were expecting a wild monster, they would have been disappointed to get a quiet and self-contained young man.

Two teenagers appearing in another court popped in to have a look, one of them surreptiously taking a picture of Doherty in the dock on his mobile phone, breaking court rules.

Pete Doherty and Kate Moss
Pete Doherty and Kate Moss became an item last year
When proceedings were underway, Doherty, 27, spoke to confirm his name, date of birth and address.

Fan Michaela Connett, 18, from Barnet, north London, who managed to grab one of the remaining seats along with a friend said: "Pete's so softly spoken. He's so sweet. I've never been in a court before, so this is all new for me."

With the threat of jail hanging over him, fans were left to wonder what was in the brown bag he had with him.

Fan Faye Angeletta said afterwards: "We hadn't seen him at court with a bag before so we wondered if he thought he was going to jail.

Pete Doherty
Babyshambles tour extensively but have cancelled gigs at short notice
"The thing with Pete is, he doesn't act like a superstar. He's really clumsy so he dropped the bag and everything fell out."

Doherty was spared a jail term after pleading guilty to possessing heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis.

The court was told he was making progress on his rehabilitation from drugs.

The singer was instead put on a two-year supervision order and given 18 months in drug rehabilitation, along with a six-month driving ban.

He stood with his bag on his shoulder while his sentence was announced then strolled off.

'About music'

After giving his fans in the reception area a quick thumbs up, he headed downstairs for another round with the photo crews and a speedy getaway.

The well-wishers said it had been worth giving up their time.

Rebecca Bourke said: "You can see Pete is getting better. He looks much healthier."

Faye Angeletta agreed: "It's nice to hear from the authorities that are seeing an improvement.

"We respect him for his music and not his drug taking.

"Everyone thinks Babyshambles' fans are all drug takers but our common interest is Pete, not drugs."




SEE ALSO
Doherty spared jail in drugs case
20 Apr 06 |  Entertainment
Doherty's ascent to rock infamy
08 Feb 06 |  Entertainment
Doherty vows to stay 'drugs-free'
11 Feb 06 |  Entertainment
Pete Doherty timeline
07 Feb 06 |  Entertainment

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