TV'S APPRENTICE STAR ATE MY LIVE GOLDFISH- NEWS OF THE WORLD- NEWSPAPER EXCLUSIVE- MAY 2009

We were contacted by somone who witnessed Apprentice star Ben Clarke swallow a live goldfish.


Our 'source' was disgusted at his behaviour and wanted to expose what he had done.


We sold the story and photos to the News of the World newspaper as an exclusive and achieved the witness a very good fee.


We will now continue to syndicate the photos on the source's behalf.



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Apprentice star Ben Clarke swallowed a LIVE GOLDFISH whole in a sick stunt at a boozy birthday bash 

APPRENTICE posh boy Ben Clarke swallowed a LIVE GOLDFISH whole in a sick stunt at a boozy birthday bash.


Our shocking pictures show the shark in a suit gulping down the defenceless creature as he's cheered on by a crowd of guffawing toffs.


After polishing off the pet in a shot glass-condemning it to a horrific death dissolving in stomach acid-swaggering Ben then egged on his drunken friends to swill down 15 MORE goldfish.


And we can reveal that the slimy Apprentice contestant could now face an investigation into animal cruelty by the RSPCA after we passed on pictures of his shocking antics.


A horrified party guest told us: "Ben was out of control! Yes it was a drunken party but how can anyone defend eating a live animal just for a laugh?"


Bowls


Trainee stockbroker Ben-whose breathtaking arrogance on the BBC show has irritated self-made tycoon Alan Sugar-disgraced himself at a lavish 21st birthday party for friend Rebecca McConnell earlier this month.


The former Gavin Henson lookalike -who claims making money is better than sex-joined guests dining on salmon in filo parcels and fine wine at the marquee bash near Dalkeith, Midlothian.


The goldfish, in decorative bowls, were part of the table decorations.


"It was nearing midnight and everyone had been on the champagne and wine for a good five hours," explained our source.


"Ben and his brother were at the top table, but by this point everyone was milling about and mixing.


"Obviously a lot of booze had gone down and attention suddenly turned to the goldfish bowls. Someone made a joke about eating one of the fish. And if you were going to bet on anyone taking things too far it would be safe to put all your money on Ben.


"So no one was shocked when he got involved in the dare. He wasn't alone - four or five others from different tables followed his lead too."


Our pictures show what happened next. Ben takes a glass tumbler and scoops one of the fish out of its bowl.


He's then seen appealing for the applause of the 150-strong crowd before downing the "shot" in one.


The gobsmacked onlooker added: "Ben just swallowed the fish whole. No one could quite believe he had done it.


"There was not a flicker of squeamishness as it went down the hatch. There's no doubt in my mind that he enjoyed doing it.


"The blokes were clapping and the girls were groaning. I thought it was disgusting behaviour, but Ben thought he was the cock of the walk afterwards.


"He loves behaving outrageously and to him this was just high jinks. Some of the others at the table thought it was too - the laughter was unbearable.


"It was clearly enormously cruel to the fish. Ben was only interested in showing off though."


Not satsfied with that, Ben then began to wind up other revellers - all former students of two leading Edinburgh public schools - to follow his lead.


One floppy-haired partygoer in a kilt had to admit defeat after he couldn't go through with the cruel act. Instead he looked on in horror as his un-eaten fish squirmed in his hand.


The source went on: "Ben's behaviour started off other people doing the same thing. All of a sudden 'fish-shooting' became a five-minute craze.


"Sixteen goldfish were consumed by Ben and his mates. He had the first one but then started egging on his pals to do the same."


On social networking site Facebook, Ben's savage behaviour was the talk of the posh partygoers for days afterwards.


Pictures with titles like "Ben Clarke about to down the poor fish!" and "going in for the kill" appeared in people's albums.


One Facebooker even went into gruesome detail of exactly how Ben's stomach acid would have finished off the goldfish.


It explained how "Strong hydrochloric acid burns the fish . . . eating away at the its eyes and fins, completely dissolving both within less than ten minutes."


Last night News of the World medical expert Dr Hilary Jones confirmed: "The stomach is full of hydrochloric acid with an extremely strong PH of 1. If you were to take stomach acid and drop a penny in it, it would clean it like Brasso. The fish would suffocate and the acid would ill it within 30 to 40 seconds.


"The acid would burn its gills and nervous system, eventually dissolving it bones and all. It would be a very unpleasant way to go."

Punch


The source added: "Ben was pleased as punch - a lot of other people just thought he was an idiot.


"It was a black tie do but he rocked up in a suit with Aviators sticking out the pocket giving it the big 'I am'.


"He was lording it up and getting a lot of female attention. Word has it that he left with a young lady that evening."


It's not the first time a TV personality has hit headlines for eating a live animal. Infamously, comedian Freddie Starr was accused of eating a girlfriend's hamster in 1986. Although Starr has since denied the incident, it has gone down in popular British culture as his defining moment.


Ben now faces tough questions from the RSPCA, which last night said it would investigate our evidence.


Spokesman Rob Harris said: "The RSPCA is very concerned about this story and condemns any action that causes suffering to animals.


"There's a debate about whether fish can feel pain or not, but the RSPCA believes they should be treated with respect.


"After hearing of this particular case, we would encourage anyone holding any evidence of this to contact us on 0300 1234 999."



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