Ex prisoner to keep £1m prize on Simon Cowell’s Red Or Black?
Published 07/09/2011 | 08:00
The first £1 million winner of Simon Cowell's gameshow Red Or Black?, who was reportedly jailed for beating up a woman, will keep his prize, it has emerged.
The news came as ITV said it would be tightening background checks on contestants following the controversial win by Nathan Hageman.
The bricklayer, 31, was initially reported to have been jailed for attacking his ex-girlfriend's boyfriend, but it has since been revealed that he attacked a woman, thought to be his ex.
There has been pressure on the broadcaster to strip Mr Hageman of his win, but a source close to the show confirmed he will be paid the cash.
In a statement an ITV spokesman said: "ITV and Syco (Cowell's production company) have made thorough inquiries into Nathan Hageman's participation on Red or Black? Whilst producers were aware that Nathan had served a prison sentence for assault they were not fully aware of facts which have since emerged. As a result of this ITV is reviewing the background checks on all remaining contestants in the show."
A Reading Crown Court spokesman reportedly told The Sun and the Daily Mirror that the victim of the 2006 assault was a woman.
ITV knew about Mr Hageman's five-year jail sentence, of which he served two-and-a-half years, but it is thought that they did not know that the victim was a woman.
Mr Hageman previously told journalists that he attacked a male victim after he started getting threatening calls from a man in Reading.
"I tried to brush it off but he kept saying he was going to harm me. One night he told me my address and said he was going to come round and batter me in front of my mum and niece Mya, who was only about two," he told The Sun.
He said: "I was an idiot for doing it, I know, but that's the state of mind I was in.
"He wasn't seriously hurt, but he made a complaint and I was arrested. I was charged with aggravated burglary and ABH. I pleaded guilty straight away as I knew what I'd done was wrong. I got five years."
When the show was launched in May, presenter Ant McPartlin said there would be checks in place to ensure winners were "not going to be criminals".
However at the same event, Cowell pointed out the show was likely to feature "all types".
Asked how show bosses would make sure there was a worthy winner, McPartlin said: "All the checks will be in place so they're not going to be criminals but when you randomly select people, who knows? And I love the idea that someone from any background could win £1 million.
"I don't think we should discriminate at all."
His co-presenter Dec Donnelly added: "And also, who is the moral guardian? Who says, I don't think you should win £1 million?"
Cowell said: "As you know from watching our shows, we've had all types."