Bodybuilder calls court a ‘sham’ as he’s fined £56,000 for opening gym in lockdown


Eddy Ellwood, 58, was convicted of breaking lockdown laws when he opened his Xtreme Fitness gym in Hartlepool during the third lockdown last year

Eddy Ellwood appears at Teesside Magistrates Court as he is convicted of breaking lockdown rules

A champion bodybuilder who opened his gym during lockdown has been fined £56,000.

Eddy Ellwood, 58, was convicted of breaking lockdown laws this afternoon when he kept his Xtreme Fitness gym in Hartlepool open in February last year – when the country was in its third lockdown.

However, Ellwood made an extraordinary statement in the courtroom after he was handed the fine at Teesside Magistrates’ Court.

The former Mr Universe denied the authority of the court and declared the conviction was a “sham”.

Ellwood further claimed people using his Xtreme Fitness premises in Hartlepool were engaged in a peaceful protest against the Covid-19 restrictions last year.







Eddy Ellwood has opened his popular gym, Xtreme Fitness, in Hartlepool, during lockdown
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Image:

Andy Commins/Daily Mirror)

Last week, his defense also told the court that people could use the gym to improve their mental health during the third national lockdown, in a motivated move by a number of suicides among people he knew.

Ellwood denied four charges relating to breaches of Covid-19 legislation on two dates in February last year.

Two charges related to him contravening a direction from the local council by allowing people to enter the premises, and there were two charges that he floated a prohibited notice by opening.







Ellwood denied four charges relating to breaches of Covid-19 legislation on two dates in February last year
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Image:

Teesside Live)







Ellwood gave an extraordinary statement in court calling the conviction a ‘sham’
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Image:

Andy Commins/Daily Mirror)

District Judge Marie Mallon convicted him of all the offenses following a two-day trial.

She said it was a “preposterous submission” that people were protesting behind closed doors in a gym.

Today she said: “To whom were they protesting, how would they make their presence known?”

The judge noted that some gym-goers ran off and hid behind cars when a council official arrived.







Ellwood’s gym was ordered to close despite their claims that they were taking part in a peaceful protest
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Image:

Teesside Live)

Ellwood was fined £30,000 and ordered to pay £25,507 in costs as well as a £181 surcharge.

He was given 12 months to pay.

Charles Holland, barrister for Hartlepool Council, said costs were in part so high because of an abuse of process argument from the defense which the district judge dismissed.

Dr John Brown, defending, said his client was a sole trader who had not been drawing a wage from the business lately.

When the judge left the room, Ellwood stood up and made a long statement, which was cheered by supporters in the public gallery.

He said he will appeal, that he felt no shame for trying to help people and called the court’s ruling a “sham.”

He said: “I have served humanity by caring, I haven’t done anything wrong.”

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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