Olympic star's son jailed after cocaine bust

Linford Christie prepares himself ahead of the 100-metre final at the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games. Photo / John Stone
Linford Christie prepares himself ahead of the 100-metre final at the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games. Photo / John Stone

As a boy, Liam Oliver-Christie excitedly watched his father Linford on television run some of the greatest races of his life.

But yesterday Oliver-Christie, now 26, himself became the centre of far less welcome attention as he was jailed for 15 months after letting two friends deal Class A drugs from his home.

The court heard how he had always 'lived in the shadow' of his father, the British former Olympic gold medalist whose career ended in controversy after failing a drug test late in his career.

For a decade, Christie, the toast of British athletics after his 100m triumph at the 1992 Barcelona Games, has been at loggerheads with his old friend, Lord Coe, who has a zero tolerance attitude to the abuse of performance enhancing and recreational drugs.

Christie, who appears to have had no dealings with London 2012, is the only British man to take gold in the Olympic, World, Commonwealth and European 100m, but in 1999 he tested positive for banned steroid nandrolone.

He was cleared by UK Athletics but the International Association of Athletics Federations gave a two-year ban and the British Olympic Association said it would no longer accredit him.

Christie has always denied taking performance-enhancing drugs. But he was barred from carrying the Olympic torch through London and has been barely visible for the last 10 days, save for fleeting TV appearances.

Whatever he was doing yesterday, he was too busy to be at Isleworth Crown Court where his jobless son was sentenced for his 'critical role' in a criminal enterprise.

Liam, whose middle name is Linford, and his twin sister Korel are the children from an affair that the sprinter had with their mother, Yvonne Oliver, then a typist.

As youngsters they received maintenance from Christie, but he saw them rarely and at times talked to his former lover only through solicitors.

Yesterday Fergus Malone, defending Oliver-Christie, told the court as he argued unsuccessfully for him to be given a suspended sentence: 'He is somebody who has bettered himself and has somewhat lived in the shadow of a very well celebrated man, his father Linford Christie.

'Not necessarily through the fault of his father, in a sense he has suffered throughout his life and perhaps not necessarily got the benefits

he might have got through being the son of Linford Christie.'

The sprinter's son has a degree in journalism, Mr Malone added, and having worked at Waitrose was in email contact with the BBC over a potential one-year placement.

When police raided his flat in West Kensington, west London, last August, he was caught with £130 for allowing it to be used for drug dealing. He tried to flee out of a ground floor window but was arrested with two friends.

A package containing five wraps of crack cocaine and 14 wraps of heroin was found just outside after being tossed out. In the kitchen were electronic scales and a protein powder used to 'cut' the drugs and up dealers' profits.

Oliver-Christie was charged with possessing criminal property after officers also found £130 cash on a windowsill. He denied it but was convicted after a trial earlier this year.

Muyiwa Famujimi, 23, of Southall, west London, and Luc Mangoung, 22, of Earls Court, south west London, were convicted of the same charge.

Mangoung was also found guilty of possessing crack and heroin with intent to supply. Yesterday he was jailed for five years, while Famujimi was given 30 months.

Sentencing, Judge Philip Matthews told Oliver-Christie, who has a previous conviction for handling stolen goods and one for failing to surrender: 'You played, in my judgement, a critical role because it was your premises. Your two pals were dealing from those premises.

'Luc Mangoung had £130 hidden in his sock and £73 pounds in his pocket which was indicative of dealing from those premises.' Famujimi kept clothes and his passport at Oliver-Christie's flat and was found to have £1,525 stashed in a plastic storage box in his own home.

'All the evidence points to regular drug-related activity at your premises of which you were fully aware,' he added. 'You benefitted directly from that because the £130 was a direct payment to you for the use of the flat.' Oliver-Christie, wearing an open necked white shirt and black jeans, briefly turned his back on the judge as sentence was passed, then waved at friends in the public gallery.

Last night a spokesman for Linford Christie's sports personality management company, Nuff Respect, declined to say what the former Olympic champion was doing while his son was in court.

Asked if Christie wished to comment on his son's jailing, the spokesman replied: 'No, nothing to say on the matter.'

- Daily Mail

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