'Heroine of Hackney' slams press sting
PUBLISHED: 12:18 05 December 2011
Rob Baker Ashton - freelance
'Heroine of Hackney' Pauline Pearce says she is living in fear of gang reprisals after a national newspaper set up a sting operation to expose her as a "drugs fixer".
Pauline, who broke her silence on Thursday to slam The People for last month’s article, rose to stardom after a video of her berating yobs during the riots went viral. She was subsequently courted by numerous politicians and appeared regularly on national television.
But the Sunday newspaper was contacted by a “whistleblower”, who alleged he’d bought crack cocaine from Pauline in the past, and it sent him to her house to secretly film her as he asked her to sell him drugs.
Pauline, 45, told him: “Those days are gone. I’m glad they are gone.”
But she called somebody else who turned up with three bags of cannabis. The man paid the dealer directly – despite expecting crack – and Pauline didn’t receive any money.
Pauline has spoken about the incident for the first time, and told the Gazette she is now frightened for her life.
“I moved to Hackney from Hertfordshire six years ago to get away from a gang,” she said. “I was down that slippery road, but when I realised ‘this isn’t what I’m about – my parents didn’t raise me that way’, so I got out.
“The newspaper told these people where I live for the sake of a two-bit story.
“Now I’m living like a fugitive. I have to get a panic button installed because I don’t feel safe. I’ve got the celebrity status, but not the celebrity protection.”
Pauline said she was shocked to see the man and rang the cannabis dealer just to make him go away. She admitted smoking weed for “medical reasons” because she has a bad back.
“I never said I was a saint, but that was all in the past,” she said. “I’m considering complaining to the Press Complaints Commission.”
The People’s news editor Lee Harpin said it was the “whistleblower” who gave Pauline’s address to them, not the other way round.
“Anyone can see on the footage she welcomed the gentleman into her house. At no stage was there any threatening behaviour,” he added.