James Stunt sobs as he reveals he took cocaine every day for 2 years but denies being a 'kept man' with Petra Ecclestone | The Sun

JAMES Stunt broke down three times today as he told jurors how he took cocaine "every day" for two years – but denied he was a "kept man".

The socialite also branded his ex-father-in-law, Formula 1 tycoon Bernie Ecclestone, "controlling" as he took to the stand for the first time at his trial.

Stunt, who was married to Bernie's daughter Petra, is accused of being part of a £266million money laundering operation with seven others.

He broke down at Leeds Cloth Hall Court over the death of his brother Lee, who was allegedly involved in the scheme, as he gave evidence.

Stunt also claimed he loved his wife "not her bank account" after prosecutors questioned if got involved in the alleged network as his divorce from Petra meant the "river of money" from her family was "running dry".

The businessman said: "I had a very rich wife and I was doing all right myself.

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"I'm not comparing myself to Bernie Ecclestone – he's one of the richest men in the world."

Stunt also told the court his billionaire father-in-law could be "very controlling of our marriage".

He claimed his three children with Petra "had to be born in the UK for tax reasons".

Stunt explained: "It was against mine and Petra's wishes but that's the kind of power Bernie had over our marriage."

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He told jurors how he had an "addictive personality" and a "functioning addict" who took cocaine following Lee's death in 2016.

Stunt called the drug a "good and bad friend" as he detailed how he took it "every day for two years".

The defendant also told jurors how he once "delayed" the 2008 Monza Grand Prix after suffering a panic attack while dating Petra.

He said: "I delayed the Monza Grand Prix. Bernie Ecclestone didn't know what to do.

"Petra kept on say I was having a Panic attack. I kept arguing with her and the doctor, and then the doctor put an injection in me."

Stunt also told the court about his gambling – calling himself the "second biggest gambler in the world" – and revealed he would sometimes drop £5million in a night and lose £400,000.

He claimed he was not a "glib, arrogant man" and said he suffers from ADHD, dyscalculia and dyslexia.

Stunt also told the court he has been sober for the past three years.

When asked by his barrister Richard Fisher KC whether he had ever sought attention, Stunt said: "I'm not a Kardashian, I've never done anything to achieve fame.

"Wow, I have some money, I married a famous man's daughter.

"That wasn't what I wanted, I loved my wife , I didn't love her bank account."

He agreed he was "ostentatious but said "there's no maliciousness behind it," adding: "I'm a giver, not a receiver.

"If you've got it, flaunt it, if you haven't, well, you can always make more."

Jurors previously heard how bags with hundreds of thousands of pounds in cash were brought into the London office of Stunt & Co.

This was then deposited in the account of Bradford gold dealer Fowler Oldfield, it is alleged.

Prosecutors argue it was “blindingly obvious this was criminal cash”.

Jurors have previously been shown CCTV and a photo of staff at Stunt's firm counting thousands of pounds.

Stunt, Francesca Sota, 34, Alexander Tulloch, 41, Gregory Frankel, 44, Daniel Rawson, 45, Paul Miller, 45, Heidi Buckler, 45, and Haroon Rashid, 51, deny money laundering.

The businessman and Sota also deny a count of forgery.

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Stunt married Petra in 2011 and the couple had three children together before splitting six years later.

The trial continues.

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