My Celebrity Life

Ex Gladiators star pleads guilty to ‘drug fuelled blackmail plot’

My Celebrity Life –

Jefferson King found fame in the early 90s as Shadow (Picture: ITV/Police)

Ex Gladiators star Jefferson King, known as Shadow on the show, has confessed to a drug-fuelled plot to extort money for a man allegedly held hostage by a gang.

The 59-year-old’s mugshot was released by the police today, showing the former bodybuilder with a blank stare and thin frame after his arrest following years of heroin abuse.

King is currently in custody and awaiting sentencing for his participation in the crime, where he demanded £1,000 from a distraught mother for the safe return of her son.

The former athlete and TV star has had a lifelong battle with drug addiction, having first become hooked on crack cocaine as a teenager while living in New York.

He later became clean, relocated to the UK and became a bodybuilder, earning national acclaim as Gladiator Shadow in 1992.

However, he was axed from the series in 1995 after testing positive for steroids and being caught taking cocaine.

My Celebrity Life –

Jefferson confessed to two counts of blackmail (Picture: Police)

My Celebrity Life –

Jefferson found fame as Shadow in 1992 but has struggled with addiction throughout his life (Picture: Rex)

Since then, King has battled his addictions – which ultimately resulted in use of heroin and crack cocaine – despite attempts to get clean and entering rehab facilities in 2009.

In March 2020, he was arrested for heroin possession, and it later transpired he was involved in a blackmail plot that involved victim Aaron Ali, 40, being held against his will in Acton, West London, while a group allegedly tried to blackmail his mother.

It’s claimed Ali was held in a flat from 2pm until 8.30pm, when he was released.

This week, jurors at Isleworth Crown Court were told by prosecutor Keith Hadrill that King and a second man, 38-year-old Simon Batson, had both confessed to two counts of blackmail.

Four more people accused of the crime – Donna Harman, 42; Otis Noel, 45; Michael Tyson, 55; and wife Sheila, 55 – are currently on trial for false imprisonment, blackmail and aiding and abetting false imprisonment.

They have denied all charges made against them.

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