George Michael’s image will outlast the scandal

George Michael had been placed in solitary confinement for his own safety last night – despite prisoners cheering at his arrival.

The multi-millionaire was in a high-risk unit at Pentonville Prison, North London, and will soon be moved to another jail, the Daily Mail has learned.

He was sentenced to eight weeks on Tuesday for crashing his car while high on cannabis. It is expected he will spend only four weeks in custody.

Prison governors decided it was too risky to put the singer in with the general prison population.

George Michael

George Michael

Although they want to move him to another prison, they are limited because Michael’s conviction is for a drug offence which under Ministry of Justice rules prevents him going to an open prison.

Alternatives include category C Wayland prison in Norfolk or Elmley in Kent. Both are closed jails and house lower-risk and local prisoners.

A prison insider said: ‘Governors want to move George from Pentonville as soon as possible as he is not the right type of inmate for that sort of jail.

‘He is currently in a segregation cell because his high profile makes him a target for any thug who wants to make a name for himself. Unfortunately, because he has committed a drug offence, the options are limited.

‘He will have to go to another closed prison and that means a lot more stress for him.’

Michael, 47, who shares his £5million house in Highgate, North London, with partner Kenny Goss, was greeted by cheers when he arrived at the jail, an ex-inmate said yesterday.

He had to swap the grey pin-striped suit he wore to court for prison-issue blue jeans and a T-shirt before being taken to his cell, which is furnished with a bunk bed, toilet, TV and radio.

His first morning in prison was a far cry from his luxury lifestyle. He was woken at 7.30am and had to make do with cornflakes for breakfast.

Joao Sena, 36, who was released from Pentonville yesterday after serving three weeks for shoplifting, said the star had been strip-searched before being taken to the high-security wing.

He said: ‘He is in the G1 wing, which is for sex offenders and people who have committed serious crimes. Everyone was shouting. They said: “Where’s George Michael – bring George Michael.” Everyone was just cheering.

‘It’s not tough in there, but for someone who hasn’t been there before it can be hard. You are strip searched when you go in, they check for mobile phones and things like that.

‘He is going to have to wait 48 hours for a visit and I think the officers are going to be around him all the time. Every time he moves he is going to have extra security.

‘I don’t think anyone will give him a hard time though. They are excited to have a celebrity here.’

A prison source added: ‘George is very quiet and polite and obviously in shock. He just sat quietly in his cell and watched the TV.’

The singer last month issued a statement detailing how he had begun a 14-day detox programme the day after the crash in July.

For the first time, he blamed his increasingly bizarre behaviour in recent years on ‘personal problems’ which, according to friends, stem from the deaths of his boyfriend Anselmo Feleppa in 1993 and his mother in 1997.


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