Freddie Starr's turbulent life marred by five failed marriages, historic sex claims and THAT hamster

FREDDIE Starr's life was marred before his death by five failed marriages, historic sex claims and that infamous hamster.

The 76-year-old virtually became a recluse in later years before news broke yesterday he had been found dead in his Spanish home.

He was married five times, lost a fortune fighting a defamation case and battled allegations of historic sexual assault.

The comedian fled there after losing a rumoured £1million years after rocketing to fame on a UK talent show, and becoming infamous after The Sun's iconic headline of "Freddie Starr ate my hamster" in 1986.

He had been forced to sell his £700,000 UK home and move abroad in 2015, despite never being charged over claims he put his hand up a girl’s skirt in 1974.

A carer discovered the once household name dead on the floor of his Costa Del Sol apartment yesterday.

Neighbours in the resort of Mijas told how Freddie had been a shadow of his old self after being hammered with a £960,000 legal bill defending historical sex abuse charges.

The dad-of-six first got married at 17 and had a son, but divorced Betty after 12 years. He then got hitched to second wife Sandy, with whom he had three more children.

Starr's third wife, Donna, was 27 years younger than him, and they had a daughter together before divorcing and then marrying again.

Finally he married fourth wife Sophie in January 2013, but they also split a few years later.

Sophie, 40 years Freddie’s junior, said he became impossible to live with, adding: “Freddie would fly off in rages and take it all out on me daily."

Starr was caught up in Operation Yewtree – the police investigation into historical sex offences launched after the litany of crimes committed by DJ Jimmy Savile came to light.

He was accused of groping a 15-year-old girl while she attended a Savile TV show and spent 18 months on bail before he was told he would not be prosecuted.

In 2015 he lost a High Court damages claim against his accuser, leaving him with an estimated £1 million legal bill.

The Liverpudlian had started out singing with a local pop group before moving into comedy. He made his comedy debut on TV talent show Opportunity Knocks.

The show led to an appearance in the 1970s Royal Variety Performance and a place in the line-up of sketch show Who Do You Do?

Starr went on to have a string of self-titled sketch and talk shows over the course of the 1990s.

In 1997 he sparked outrage by hurling live chickens into an audience at the Britannia Theatre, Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

Kerry Duthie, who was in the audience, said: "It was absolutely wicked. People were screaming and there were feathers flying in the air. The chickens were flapping about in a panic.

"I am not a big animal rights supporter, but to see that happen was so cruel. If it was a cat or dog, people would have been up in arms. But because it was a chicken they got away with it."


Starr shrugged off the criticism, saying: "There is nothing wrong with what happened and it will be left in the video. It was not cruel at all.

"As far as the chickens go, it was a one-off. They have a professional handler and were kept in the cool outside the theatre before going on stage."

He suffered a major heart attack in April 2010 and underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery but still signed up for the 2011 series of I'm A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!

But a meal of fermented egg and a camel toe in the bushtucker trial saw him rushed to hospital after he suffered an allergic reaction.

He was advised to drop out in case his illness flared up again.

Starr said at the time: "I wanted to be there until the very end but there's no use crying over spilt milk."

In February he posted a picture on Facebook of himself with cigarettes stuffed into his mouth, nose and ears.

In May he posted: "Hello everyone, hope everyone is okay? Me yes I'm okay getting tired now but otherwise I'm doing good.

"I just have to say thank you all from the bottom of my heart for all the kind comments and messages it really does mean a lot so thank you to each and every one of you. Thanks so much. Freddie."

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