David Gest hired hitman for Sir Elton John
The late David Gest once hired a hitman to kill Sir Elton John.
The producer – who died last April aged 62 – was so furious when the legendary entertainer quipped he was gay shortly after he tied the knot with Liza Minelli in 2002, that he paid a would-be assassin £20,000 to "bump off" the ‘Rocket Man’ hitmaker during a gig in California in 2003.
David’s then-bodyguard and best friend, Imad Handi, recalled: "David flew into a range and yelled, ‘I’m going to kill that motherf***er. He’s a dead man.’
"He looked me in the eyes and said, ‘I want him dead’.
"I think he was so angry because Elton rumbled who he really was."
David was living in Honolulu when he read Elton’s quip that he wanted to "find Liza a heterosexual husband", and approached a "connected" doorman about the hit.
Imad told The Sun on Sunday newspaper: "David spent a lot of time in the bars and got talking to a Maori doorman who was connected on the island.
"David approached him about the possibility of bumping Elton off.
"No one knew his name but the Maori man said he had friends who could sort it for £40,000.
"I had to do the research to work out when Elton would next be in Los Angeles for the hit.
"David then gave me $25,000 (£20,000). The following night, I took the money in a white laundry bag to the Hilton village hotel and gave it to the man.
"He said he wanted the remainder afterwards. I felt guilty but I felt loyalty to David."
Imad, 39, "pleaded" with David to call off the hit as he worried about being implicated, and was relieved his friend finally agreed.
He said: "I started to really worry about being implicated and at the start of 2003 I pleaded with him to call it off.
"He eventually said OK but told me I had to get his money back.
"The man only gave me £8,000 back so David lost £12,000 but at least Elton didn’t die."
Imad went on to claim David turned his attentions to men after divorcing Liza in 2007, was "obsessed" with music mogul Simon Cowell, and regularly attended "gay sex parties".
He said: "He was obsessed with Simon Cowell. He was his dream man because of his power.
"David bragged that Simon had invited him to Lisbon with him because he was supposedly working there. I think it was in David’s fantasy.
"He’d talk about men, his love for well-endowed blokes.
"If anybody asked if he was gay, he flatly denied it but he regularly went to gay sex parties in the English countryside."
But as well as his crush on Simon, David also had a "real thing" for troubled singer Amy Winehouse – who died in 2011 – and Imad claimed the pair used to take drugs together.
He added: "He had a real thing for Amy. I went to a flat he owned and she was laying on his couch, they were spaced out on drugs."