Page last updated at 15:27 GMT, Friday, 16 January 2009

Boy George jailed for 15 months

Boy George in court for sentencing
The judge said the singer's drug-fuelled actions were 'premeditated'

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.

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

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

O'Dowd's family and supporters reacted emotionally as the singer was handed the jail sentence at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

Gay website

Judge Radford said: "Whilst I accept that Mr Carlsen's physical injuries were not serious or permanent, in my view there can be no doubt that your premeditated callous and humiliating handcuffing and detention of Mr Carlsen shocked, degraded and traumatised him.

"He was deprived of his liberty and human dignity without warning or proper explanation to him of its purpose, length or purported justification."

Family and friends react outside the courtroom
The singer's family and friends were angry at the sentence

The singer, best known for 1980s hit Karma Chameleon, was also told 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, Snaresbrook Crown Court heard.

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.

'Self-destructive behaviour'

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 UK as he was "too scared".

The singer has previous convictions for theft as a juvenile in 1977 and a drugs offence 10 years later.

Audun Carlsen
Audun Carlsen met the singer on a gay social-networking site

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.

Earlier his barrister Adrian Waterman told the court that O'Dowd was the "antithesis of the haughty bullying star".

He said: "At the heart of the matter was a descent into self-destructive behaviour at the hands of the drugs."

Following the sentencing, O'Dowd's solicitor, Steven Barker, said: "George is on the road to recovery, I sincerely hope this sentence does not knock him back."

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