Ex-TV Gladiator Shadow pictured in mugshot after admitting blackmail plot role

A mugshot of ex-TV Gladiator Shadow who admitted taking part in a drug-fuelled blackmail plot shows him hollow-cheeked and dead-eyed.

The former bodybuilder, whose real name is Jefferson King, admitted demanding £1,000 from a mum for the safe return of her son who was allegedly being held hostage by a gang.

He is currently awaiting sentencing at the conclusion of Isleworth crown court trial of other alleged blackmailers, the Sun reported.

A court heart King was charged with heroin possession a week before he became involved in the plot.

King "degenerated rapidly," the court said, and jurors were told victim Aaron Ali, 40, was held for a "significant" period of time at a flat in Acton, west London.

Mr Ali was allegedly gagged with a tissue placed in his mouth and repeatedly punched and kicked while his mum, Nosheen Zarait and his brother Tariq Ali were contacted and told to pay £1,000 for his safe return.

The prosecution claim Mr Ali was held from 2pm until his release at 8.30pm.

Keith Hadrill told the jury King and another man, Simon Batson, 38, had both admitted two charges of blackmail.

Donna Harman, 42, Batson's girlfriend, Otis Noel, 45, along with Michael Tyson, 55, and his wife Shila, 55, all deny charges including false imprisonment, blackmail and aiding and abetting false imprisonment.

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King was "known as Shadow in Gladiators" and became addicted to crack aged just 14 in New York.

He got clean and moved back to England where he met his wife before being recruited for Gladiator for the original 1992 series.

In 1995 he was caught snorting coke, then axed from the ITV show after testing positive for steroids.

King said he was shunned following his sacking, saying: "I felt like a leper after Gladiators.

"I was on the ­biggest programme there was – ­bigger than Blind Date and Noel’s House Party. It felt like I’d had a life and then all of a sudden I didn’t."

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