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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 May 2007, 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
Earl 'turned to drugs and women'
Mohammed M'Barek and Jamila M'Barek in court
Mohammed and Jamila M'Barek deny murdering the earl
The late Earl of Shaftesbury was like a tramp who took comfort in bar hostesses, cocaine and drink, his brother-in-law has told a French court.

Mohammed M'Barek, 43, on trial for his murder, said his sister showed the earl love while his own family ignored him.

Mr M'Barek and Jamila M'Barek, 45, the earl's estranged third wife, deny murdering Anthony Ashley-Cooper, who had homes in Sussex and London.

Earlier, Mr M'Barek was thrown out of court for yelling at the earl's family.

In a dramatic verbal attack, he cried out: "It's cruel - the French justice system is criminal. We are not guilty. We are the victims."

'Like a baby'

Police officers removed him from the dock and after a five-minute adjournment, he returned and apologised for losing his temper.

He then went on to tell the Nice court: "When Jamila met Anthony, he was like a tramp, and she turned him into a man.

Jamila has one goal in life, and that is to make money
Catherine Gurtler

"She stopped him taking cocaine, she loved him - whereas his family ignored him.

"They didn't show any love to him - they turned him into an aggressive man who looked for comfort with these hostesses in shady bars, who gave him cocaine and made him drink.

"Jamila looked after him - he was like a baby."

Later, Catherine Gurtler, who ran an escort service in Geneva, told the court she had introduced Ms M'Barek to the earl.

The 10th Earl of Shaftesbury (file image)
The playboy aristocrat went missing from the French Riviera in 2004.

"Jamila has one goal in life, and that is to make money," she said.

"When she wasn't working for agencies, she was working in hostess bars. She just wanted to take advantage of the earl as much as possible."

She said the girls were paid about 1,500 euros (1,020) a night for their services, and claimed a cheque from the earl had bounced.

Ms M'Barek and her brother say Lord Ashley-Cooper died accidentally during a drunken argument.

The prosecution say Ms M'Barek paid her brother to kill the earl, because he was in the process of divorcing her and she feared being left out of his will.

The playboy aristocrat went missing from the French Riviera on 5 November 2004.

His body was found in the foothills of the French Alps five months later.

On Wednesday, Nadia Orche, with whom the earl was having an affair, said he had become so afraid of his estranged wife that he would only meet her in public places.


SEE ALSO
Court hears of 'threats' to earl
23 May 07 |  England
Marriage to earl 'was a curse'
22 May 07 |  England
Mobile led police to earl's body
07 Apr 05 |  Southern Counties
Earl's body 'is found in France'
06 Apr 05 |  Southern Counties
Profile: Earl of Shaftesbury
28 Feb 05 |  England

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