Pete Doherty, the rock star who has fought a public battle with drug addiction, walked free from prison today after serving just 29 days of a 14-week sentence for breaching his probation.
He left Wormwood Scrubs Prison in West London at around 7.10am this morning. Dressed in a suit and tie, he told reporters he was pleased to be out and was looking forward to having a rum and coke and spending some time with his pet cats.
Doherty was engulfed by a media scrum as he left the imposing Victorian prison. Smoking a cigarette, the tousled-haired singer had to borrow a reporter’s phone to call for somebody to come and pick him up.
His release caused such a stir with passing motorists that a bus and lorry shunted into each other outside the prison causing a long traffic jam.
Doherty described prison life as “a lot of gangsters and Radio 4” and showed reporters a certificate confirming that he had passed a drugs test while inside. He said he had kept a journal while inside and showed off doodles and sketches he had penned in his cell.
Asked if he had taken any drugs whilst inside the prison, he replied: “Well, I knew it was going to be a bit rough to start with, repeated with the overcrowding and the medical facilities although they do their best - they are good, they can’t really cater for the average junkie...”
Doherty used his release to tell the media that one of the people he had met inside prison was innocent and had been jailed for a crime that someone else had confessed to.
He said he would now be returning to Marlborough in Wiltshire, where he was looking forward to seeing his pet cats. He was then pursued by the press down the main road outside the prison before being finally picked up in a friend’s car.
His release today comes despite claims Doherty took heroin behind bars and while taking the heroin substitute methadone. The Babyshambles singer was jailed last month by district judge Davinder Lachhar at West London magistrates' court.
The decision came after Doherty was handed a four-month suspended jail sentence in October for possessing crack cocaine, heroin, ketamine and cannabis. The judge said the singer was often late or missed probation appointments altogether and had used different drugs.
Doherty had been serving his sentence in segregation after claims that other prisoners had plotted to attack him.
Mobile phone photographs of Doherty sitting in his cell and talking to other inmates on a landing were published in The Sun.
The newspaper claimed that despite being given the heroin substitute methadone Doherty was also taking the real thing.
In September 2003 Doherty was given a six-month jail sentence after admitting burgling the home of his former Libertines band mate Carl Barat. His release means Doherty is free to play on the Park stage at the Glastonbury Festival in Somerset later next month.