X-Factor Gangland Link- Sunday Mirror Newspaper- Exclusive Showbiz Story- ***September 2012***

We were contacted by someone who told us how X-Factor star Joe Whelan had an album funded by a notorious gangster.


Joe is one of the most popular acts to appear on the ITV show.


We contacted Joe who was happy to confirm the story which we sold to the Sunday Mirror newspaper.


Everyone involved was paid for the story and our publicist Jonathan Hartley is now helping Joe handle the media attention.



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Gangland hit: X Factor rocker Joe's album bankrolled by Britain's "most wanted"

The star of last night's X ­Factor had his pop career bankrolled by Britain's most wanted man... an on-the-run murder suspect with a £10,000 ­bounty on his head.

Rock singer Joseph Whelan, who Gary Barlow described as "absolutely ­awesome" after he sang Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love, was befriended by John Anslow after they were introduced by his manager.

Anslow then paid £3,000 towards production costs for a charity record released by Joe's former heavy metal band.

But just months after this act of generosity he was arrested and charged over the gangland shooting of father-of-two Richard Deakin.

Then in January this year armed thugs attacked a prison van taking him to court. They overpowered the guards and Anslow escaped. He is now believed to be hiding out in Spain or North Africa.


Joe, tipped to be one of the stars of this series of the ITV1 show, says he had no idea how his friend made his money.

He was surprised at the arrest and shocked at the violent escape, which was reconstructed for a BBC's Crimewatch episode.

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Mirror, Joe, a tool salesman and professional cage fighter, said: "My manager introduced me to John when I was in a heavy metal band called Dementia. He was pretty well known round the area, but no one ­really asked what he did.

"He used to turn up to our gigs in his Ferrari and would always buy everyone drinks. We all thought he was pretty cool. About two years ago we decided to bring out a charity single in aid of British troops in Afghanistan.

"We needed some funding and our agent decided to ask John. He immediately said yes. He was a big supporter of the troops and a fan of the band.

"He handed £3,000 over like it was nothing. All he asked was for us to put his name in the album credits, which we were more than happy to do, with a little tribute thanking him for making the CD possible. We got about 4,000 copies made and they sold really well, so we were very grateful to John."

Joe, who lives in Wolverhampton with partner Maxine Raybould and has a four-year-old son Kian, says he did not see John for months afterwards.

He added: "Last summer I heard he had been arrested. It was a real shock. Then in January I heard he'd escaped. Hearing him described as the UK's most wanted man is pretty weird. I mean he was always very nice to us and he really helped us out with the album.

"Having said that, we thought it was best if we took his name off the album for any further ones we had made."

Police are still hunting Anslow, 32, who is the first Category A prisoner to escape from custody in 17 years. He and four others have been accused of breaking into businessman Richard Deakin's house in Staffordshire and shooting him in his bed in July 2010.

The escape in January came as Anslow was being transported from HMP Hewell to Stafford Crown Court.

Joe admits he has mixed with quite a few criminals in his time. He said: "A lot of my friends have been in trouble with the police over the years, but I'm pretty well behaved. The only time I've ever got in any grief is when someone's had a pop at me because they've heard I do cage-fighting.

"I was bottled and jumped by five lads in Wolverhampton about 18 months ago just because they'd heard I was a cage fighter and wanted to put me in my place, but they didn't manage it.

"I needed stitches in the back of my head, but that was it. I gave as good as I got.

"It was scary at the time. I was bottled, saw a flash, turned round and saw five huge lads standing there and just thought, 'Oh no, this is it', but then they started hitting me and it didn't really hurt.

"I very rarely get ­intimidated."




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