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Gladiators Star Michael Jefferson King Has Been Jailed For More Than Six Years

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Gladiators Star Michael Jefferson King Has Been Jailed For More Than Six Years

A bodybuilder famous for his starring role in 1990s television programme Gladiators has been jailed for his part in a blackmail plot over a drugs debt.

Michael Jefferson King, 60, better known as Shadow from the '90s TV show, was sentenced at Isleworth Crown Court to six years and three months for taking part.

Michael Jefferson King. Credit: PA
Michael Jefferson King. Credit: PA

King was one of four people who kept a man detained in a flat in Acton, west London, during a torturous attack lasting around eight hours.


King was described as a 'lieutenant' to the plot, which saw Aaron Ali being beaten and filmed for 'highly distressing' videos sent to his family, to elicit a payment of up to £1,000in exchange for his release.

At one stage, King was alleged to have ordered a co-defendant to 'fetch a hammer to break his legs' after Mr Ali tried to flee.

King, 60, a long-time user of crack cocaine and heroin, was handed a sentence of six years and three months after admitting two counts of blackmail at Isleworth Crown Court.

Credit: ITV
Credit: ITV

Three other defendants, so-called ringleader Simon Batson, Donna Harman, and Otis Noel, were also sentenced for their role in the plot.

The judge, Her Honour Judge Fiona Barrie, said: "A plan was hatched by the four defendants to extort money from Mr Ali's family.

"He was subjected to a sustained and brutal attack over several hours, and from lunchtime until 9pm he said he was tortured by the group."

She went on to explain how Mr Ali said 'he was treated as less than a human by people he knew, all for drugs and money'.


King showed no emotion as the sentence was passed.

Credit: ITV
Credit: ITV

Gladiators launched in 1992 and was hosted by John Fashanu and Ulrika Jonsson. King was one of the show's original cast members alongside Diane Youdale as 'Jet', Michael Ahearne as 'Warrior', Mike Van Wijk as 'Wolf' and Kim Betts as 'Lightning'.

King was booted off the programme in 1995 when a drug test picked up traces of steroids in his system.


At the time, he said: "There is no excuse for cheating. I was mixing with drugs before Gladiators and when I was tested during the show there were no traces of cocaine but they found steroids."

According to the Manchester Evening News, he spent eight years in and out of prison for drugs offences and shoplifting, ­after stealing and begging to feed his habit before coming clean and apparently turning his life around. He went on to work in a drug rehabilitation centre.

Featured Image Credit: ITV

Topics: TV and Film, News

Rebecca Shepherd
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