MUSIC - BRITAIN

Boy George sentenced to 15 months in jail

Former Culture Club front man Boy George was sentenced on Friday to 15 months in jail after being found guilty last month of falsely imprisoning Norwegian male escort Audun Carlsen.

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AFP - British pop star Boy George was sentenced to 15 months in jail on Friday for imprisoning a Norwegian male escort after a nude photoshoot.

The 47-year-old former Culture Club frontman was found guilty last month of handcuffing 29-year-old Audun Carlsen and beating him with a metal chain, when he tried to escape the musician's London apartment.

The singer and disc jockey, who stood trial under his real name George O'Dowd, admitted to police to handcuffing Carlsen to his bed on April 28, 2007, as he investigated the Norwegian's alleged tampering with his computer.

He denied, however, that he assaulted Carlsen, or hit him with a metal chain, suggesting to officers that the bruises suffered by the escort could have been there due to the fact that he was HIV positive.

"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," Judge David Radford said as he sentenced O'Dowd.

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

O'Dowd and Carlsen met on the gay website Gaydar, and Carlsen first went to O'Dowd's apartment in January 2007, when they posed naked for the photoshoot and took cocaine.

Carlsen said the singer performed a sex act on him for "five seconds before I said no," and the pair later left on good terms, with O'Dowd paying Carlsen 300 pounds (330 euros, 400 dollars), of the 400 pounds that they had agreed.

The Norwegian claimed during the trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court in London that O'Dowd proceeded to then send him a string of emails accusing him of hacking into his computer.

Despite that, Carlsen returned to O'Dowd's flat in April 2007 and said that when he arrived, he was handcuffed to a wall hook, called a "whore," punched repeatedly and beat with a metal chain when he tried to flee.

Explaining why the attack happened, Carlsen told the court: "I think he couldn't handle the refusal -- me not having sex with him."

Using the handcuffs to unscrew the wall hook, Carlsen then escaped the apartment onto the street wearing just his underwear, a T-shirt and running shoes.

Defence lawyers arguing on behalf of O'Dowd, who did not give evidence to the court, said that the dispute was regarding claims that Carlsen had stolen photographs from O'Dowd's computer.

They argued that Carlsen's suggestion that the attack occurred because of his refusal to have sex with the artist was "entire fantasy or a lie".

O'Dowd has had brushes with the law in the past -- in August 2006, he carried out a week of court-ordered community service in New York City for filing a false police report over a non-existent burglary.

As well as the community service, he agreed to undergo drug rehabilitation.

Boy George briefly embarked on a solo singing career after leaving Culture Club in 1987, before beginning a successful career as a DJ and launching fashion line B-Rude.
 

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