Blackmailers are facing prison for a drug plot with TV Gladiator Shadow, where they demanded £ 1,000 from family
Two blackmailers are facing jail for their part in a drug-fueled plot involving TV’s Gladiators’ Shadow.
Former bodybuilder Jefferson King, 59, appeared in the first three series of the hit show and became a household name with other stars such as Jet and Wolf.
Now barely recognizable from his heyday in the 1990s after years of drug abuse, he is behind bars awaiting sentence after demanding £ 1,000 from a family for the safe return of a 40-year-old man.
Two blackmailers face jail for their part in a drug-fueled plot featuring TV’s Gladiators’ Shadow (pictured in his mugshot)
Former bodybuilder Jefferson King, 59, appeared in the first three series of the hit show and became a household name with other stars such as Jet and Wolf
Victim Aaron Ali was detained for six and a half hours after a day of smoking drugs in a flat in Acton, West London on March 22 last year.
Mr. Ali was gagged, a tissue was put in his mouth to muffle the screams, and he was beaten and kicked repeatedly.
Mr Ali told the court that the king suggested giving him a kneecap during his kidnapping.
The victim’s ex-wife Nosheen Zarait and his brother Tariq Ali were contacted and said they had to pay £ 1,000 for his safe return, jurors heard.
King and leader Simon Batson, 38, admitted two charges of blackmail before the trial began three weeks ago.
Batson’s girlfriend Donna Harman, 42, and Otis Noel, 45, were both convicted today on two charges of blackmail and one of false imprisonment.
Married couple, Michael and Shila Tyson, both 55, denied and were cleared of complicity in false incarceration.
Jefferson King, Ulrika Jonsson and Michael Aherne in ITV’s Gladiator series
They both received their travel expenses of £ 120 spent attending their trial.
Judge Fiona Barrie said the jury, which deliberated for 14 hours and 16 minutes to reach a majority, was one of the most “diligent” she has ever encountered.
“It is clear to me that you have considered this matter with great care,” she said after the verdicts were announced.
After being told to go to the cells, Harman was in tears when she put her hand on the glass-walled scaffolding and thanked her attorney.
Prosecutor Keith Hadrill said earlier that Harman and Noel were in the flat where Mr. Ali was being held and assaulted while blackmail demands were made on his family.
He claimed they later drove Mr. Ali to the High Wycombe, Berkshire exchange area.
Harman called Ms. Zarait and said, “Woman to wife, mother to mother, I’ve been looking at this for a while, but this is too much, just go get the money.”
Former bodybuilder King was recruited as a Gladiator for the original 1992 series
Harman was so concerned about the victim’s sobbing that she texted her neighbors in Burlington Gardens, saying that “the boys” were getting turned on by “the Playstation.”
Jurors were shown two videos recorded on an iPhone of the victim being beaten.
In the videos, Mr. Ali can be seen lying on a couch wearing a gray sweater saying ‘please please’ and ‘please let me talk to my mother’.
Mr. Hadrill said, “He cries out in pain.
So what happens is Ms. Harman goes to the neighbors for fear they will be heard.
She explains that the sound was ‘guys getting excited about a PlayStation’.
Harman also texted, “I just wanted to say sorry for the noise – guys too excited about the game.”
Mr Hadrill said the injuries were ‘not serious but serious enough to cause discomfort’, adding: ‘A tissue was put in his mouth, a gag was used, he was hit with a pole, he was knocked over the bridge of the nose, he was repeatedly kicked. ‘
Born in London to Jamaica’s parents, King moved to New York at the age of 14, where he joined the school’s American football team.
Left to right: Wolf (Michael Van Wijk), Shadow (Jefferson King), host Ulrika Jonsson, Saracen (Mike Lewis), and Cobra (Michael; Wilson) for Gladiators Season 3, 1994
He later returned to England where he met his wife and fathered two children before being recruited as a gladiator for the original 1992 series hosted by Ulrika Jonsson.
In 1995, King was caught snorting cocaine, after which he was dropped from the ITV show after testing positive for steroids.
He later turned to heroin and crack cocaine, lost his home and family, and served a succession of jail terms.
In 2009 he entered rehab and stayed clean, in 2011 he revealed that he had beaten his addiction and worked in rehab to help people with drug problems.
Last year he was arrested for heroin possession.
Harman, of Burlington Gardens, Acton and Noel of Wendover Court, Acton, denied but was convicted of two charges of blackmail and one charge of false imprisonment.
The Tysons, of Grafton Road, Ealing, denied and were cleared of complicity in false incarceration.
King and Batson both admitted to having been blackmailed twice.
They will be sentenced on a date to be determined.