Winehouse husband sentenced to prison term

LONDON Mon Jul 21, 2008 9:59pm IST

Amy Winehouse (R) leaves the stage with her husband Blake Fielder-Civil during the 2007 Mercury Music Awards at the Grosvenor House hotel in London September 4, 2007.    REUTERS/Kieran Doherty/Files

Amy Winehouse (R) leaves the stage with her husband Blake Fielder-Civil during the 2007 Mercury Music Awards at the Grosvenor House hotel in London September 4, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Kieran Doherty/Files

LONDON (Reuters) - The husband of British soul singer Amy Winehouse was ordered to serve about four and a half more months in prison on Monday after he pleaded guilty to attacking a pub landlord in 2006 and then trying to cover it up.

Blake Fielder-Civil, 26, sat with his three co-defendants before judge David Radford at Snaresbrook Crown Court in east London as the sentences were read out.

"I read that you, Blake Fielder-Civil, were affected by drink and cocaine and that in that drunken and drugged state took part in this attack out of a mistaken sense of loyalty to your friend Michael Brown," Radford said.

He added that Fielder-Civil, who married Winehouse in Miami in 2007, "behaved in a gratuitous, cowardly and disgraceful way", and sentenced the former video assistant to 27 months in prison, of which he will only have to serve half.

Fielder-Civil's lawyer, Jeremy Dein, explained afterwards that the sentence effectively meant his client had another four and a half months to serve, having been behind bars already for around nine months.

Winehouse, 24, was not in court to learn her husband's fate. The Grammy-winning star has referred frequently to Fielder-Civil and the case during recent stage performances.

Brown, 40, who also pleaded guilty to the attack and conspiring to pervert the course of justice, was sentenced to 33 months in prison, while Anthony Kelly, described in court as the architect of the cover-up attempt, got 20 months.

The fourth defendant, 20-year-old James Kennedy, was handed a suspended sentence.

DRUGS TO BLAME

Dein told the court that Fielder-Civil acted as he had because of his well-publicised drug addiction, and referred to his history of self-harm and suicide attempts.

He added that the defendant was determined to recover from his addiction, for his sake and that of Winehouse, who has also been battling drug dependency and checked into a rehabilitation clinic in January.

"It is their ambition to divorce themselves from hard drugs and not separate from each other," Dein said.

"He knows that if he fails then an appointment with calamity waits not just for himself but for his wife as well.

"It would be impossible for her (Winehouse) to alienate herself from drugs if he continues to befriend them."

The court heard how Brown attacked pub landlord James King on June 20, 2006, and that Fielder-Civil joined in.

King suffered a fractured cheek bone, which required the surgical reconstruction of his face.

Kelly and Kennedy were engaged to organise a pay-off to ensure that King did not show up in court to testify against Brown and Fielder-Civil. Brown and Fielder-Civil later admitted to joining the plot.

King was to have received 200,000 pounds ($400,000) for his silence, money that was ultimately expected to come from Winehouse's account.

King faced trial on the charge of perverting the course of justice but was found not guilty last month.

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