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I deserved to be jailed - Michael

George Michael has said he deserved to be jailed for a month after crashing his Range Rover while high on cannabis, describing it as "karma".

The former Wham! singer said he was "ashamed" to have broken the law repeatedly, adding that he is now in therapy over his drug abuse issues.

In an interview with BBC Radio 2's Chris Evans Breakfast Show, he said: "By the time I went to court, I knew this wasn't going to happen again. I knew I was going to lose my licence.

"I was assured I wasn't going to prison but I thought I was, and like I said, it was much easier to take because I felt it was deserved.

"This was a hugely shameful thing to have done repeatedly so karmically I felt like I had a bill to pay. I went to prison, I paid my bill."

Asked on his reaction to being sentenced after admitting driving while unfit through drugs and possessing two cannabis cigarettes, he said: "Remarkably enough, I know people must think it was a really horrific experience - it's so much easier to take any form of punishment if you believe you actually deserve it, and I did."

He said he was sent to prison for two reasons - because it was his second conviction for the same offence, despite the fact no cannabis was involved on the first occasion, and also because: "I'm George Michael and the poster boy for cannabis".

The singer, whose real name is Georgios Panayioto, was initially taken to Pentonville Prison in north London, where former inmates have included Oscar Wilde and Boy George - who was one of many fellow celebrities to write to him in prison.

Michael has not spoken to Sir Elton John "for a long time", but said: "He wrote to me in the nick which was nice, and so did Boy George write me a lovely letter."

He added: "And I got a letter from Paul McCartney which was lovely."

Describing his first night in the prison, he said: "Well, it was Pentonville. It wasn't a weekend break, put it that way.

"What did I think? Well, I didn't feel sorry for myself. I thought, 'Oh my God, this place is absolutely filthy, because it was Pentonville.

"I just thought, you get your head down."

He dismissed reports he had been distressed during his time at Pentonville, adding: "Those stories of me crying are rubbish. They wish that was me, but that's not me."

Michael was later downgraded from a category C prisoner to category D and transferred to Highpoint Prison, an open prison in Suffolk.

His last night in prison was "great", with "every single staff member" and prisoner getting his autograph - some of them on headed prison paper.

He described signing a guitar for one man, saying: "So this guy comes in with a guitar and he said he wanted me to write the date.

"So I asked the date, and he said it's the 10th of the 10th of the 10th. And I just thought 'that's so fitting'.

"It's kind of like the clock rolling round to the end of something, tomorrow I start again."

Michael has recorded a cover of True Faith by New Order for this year's Comic Relief appeal, which will be released on March 13. It is his first single since serving a prison sentence.

The first part of Chris Evans's interview will be broadcast on his breakfast show at 8am on Monday, with the second part broadcast at the same time on Tuesday.

© Press Association