Belfast Telegraph

Cowell: £1m winner must look within

Simon Cowell said the controversial first winner of the £1 million game show Red or Black? should look at his "conscience" when he decides what to do with his prize money.

Nathan Hageman, 31, won the first big prize on the show, but concern grew after it emerged he had a violent past.

The bricklayer was initially reported to have been jailed for attacking a man, but it has since been disclosed he attacked a woman, thought to be his ex-girlfriend.

Simon said: "I'm not in a position to force anyone to do anything. Once he got through that's why he got the money, that's his own conscience what he decides to do with it."

The showbiz supremo told journalists he thought domestic violence was "disgusting" but said Mr Hageman would still get his money.

He said: "He's got to make his own decision. Now if was him, I know what I would do.

"I would give away part of the money to the person he had the altercation with and a charity, I mean I would do it."

TV bosses have axed three contestants this week after finding "inconsistencies" during a background check and tighter checks have been brought in on criminal convictions.

ITV knew about Mr Hageman's five-year jail sentence, of which he served two-and-a-half years, but it is thought to have been unaware the victim was a woman.

Simon said he expected a second series of the show to be made and had already had three approaches from the United States to make an American version. The TV supremo denied it was a publicity stunt, saying: "We don't sit there hoping things like this are going to happen, I mean genuinely we wanted this to be 'happy endings'."

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