Boy George sentenced to 15 months in jail

Fri Jan 16, 2009 12:45pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - Former Culture Club frontman 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.

Tried under his real name George O'Dowd, the 47-year-old Briton denied the charge of false imprisonment at his London flat in April, 2007. After his conviction on December 5, judge David Radford had warned him that he faced a prison term.

But the length of the sentence was a surprise to lawyers who had expected a term of around three months, or even a suspended sentence.

Shocked family members and friends in a packed courtroom at Snaresbrook Crown Court in east London gasped and broke down in tears after the sentence was read. O'Dowd, his head shaved and wearing a black coat and sweater, stared ahead impassively.

"This offence is so serious that only an immediate sentence of imprisonment can be justified for it," Radford said.

He said Carlsen was "shocked, degraded and traumatized" at being detained and attacked by O'Dowd and an unnamed companion, and said a guilty plea "would have been true evidence of remorse and saved your victim from ... cross-examination."

The singer had told police he invited Carlsen back to his home after a cocaine-fueled pornographic photo shoot in January, 2007, because he suspected the Norwegian of stealing pictures from his computer.

"KIND AND GENEROUS"   Continued...

<p>Singer Boy George, whose real name is George O'Dowd, arrives for his sentencing at Snaresbrook Crown Court in east London January 16, 2009. O'Dowd was found guilty in December 2008 of falsely imprisoning a Norwegian male escort by handcuffing him to a wall. REUTERS/Stephen Hird</p>