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Last Updated: Friday, 12 May 2006, 16:56 GMT 17:56 UK
Boy mascot 'unaware of gun drama'
Loftus Road
Eleven men were arrested after the alleged incident
A young football mascot ran out onto the pitch unaware his grandfather - who was a club director - had just been threatened with a gun, a court heard.

Gianni Paladini was allegedly forced to sign papers resigning from Queen's Park Rangers only minutes before they played Sheffield United.

Blackfriars Crown Court heard his grandson Gianluca was the club mascot.

Seven men deny false imprisonment, conspiracy to blackmail and possession of a firearm.

Mr Paladini's son, Stephen, told the court his nephew, Gianluca, had been chosen to be QPR's mascot for the day and had run out onto the pitch with his heroes just before the first match of the season on 13 August 2005.

But the prosecution claims that at the same time Mr Paladini Sr, a 60-year-old former football agent, was being terrorised by a gang under the orders of David Morris.

The trial has already heard how Mr Morris had asked to have a word with Mr Paladini Sr in the chief executive's suite at the Loftus Road ground in west London.

Gianni Paladini
Mr Paladini said the ordeal began before a home match

He was then allegedly surrounded by several men, threatened with a gun and forced to sign documents handing over his controlling shares in the club.

Mr Paladini Jr said his father managed to escape from the men and eventually alerted the police.

Mr Morris, 50, is charged along with Andy Baker, 40, from Somerset; Barry Powell, 34, and John McFarlane, 39, both from west London; Aaron Lacey, 36, from Watford; David Davenport, 38, from Buckinghamshire; and Michael Reynolds, 45, from north London.

The trial continues.


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