Ashley Blake: I've lost everything - I'm ruined
Shamed BBC newsreader Ashley Blake said he faces financial ruin after being found guilty of hitting a teenager with a wooden pole and lying to police to protect himself.
The BBC Midlands Today presenter was convicted on Monday of unlawfully wounding 17-year-old Greg Jones. He was also found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice by throwing the pole away.
In his first interview since his conviction, Blake said the case had “crippled him” and said his career was in ruins.
The 40-year-old presenter also refused to apologise for the attack which left the teenager scarred for life and maintains that he acted in self defence.
Blake, who featured regularly on Midlands Today and also hosted current affairs programme Inside Out, said he had spent thousands of pounds on hiring a legal team including a QC in the hope of proving his innocence.
Speaking to The Birmingham Post, he said he would be meeting with lawyers to discuss whether he would appeal against his conviction.
The attack happened after violence broke out at the end of an 18th birthday party being held at Blake’s former bar and restaurant The Place 2B in Sutton Coldfield on January 25.
Blake is due to face an internal disciplinary hearing at the BBC next week.
“It is inevitable that I will lose my job, everything I have so worked hard for. I am still in a state of shock,” he said.
Speaking about his conviction, he added: “I am absolutely flabbergasted. It is unbelievable, the whole situation. I have rewound on double speed right back to the night itself and thought how did such a wonderful occasion of the birthday party of one of my popular employees turn so nasty.”
Blake and his partner Jessica Hayes bought the Chester Road venue five years ago.
But The Place 2 B (UK) Ltd went into liquidation two years ago with debts totalling £89,205. The couple then set up a new business, The Place 2 B Thai Restaurant Ltd, at the same venue and sold it earlier this year.
He said: “It has ruined me, crippled me. Any money which we made when we sold the business in February has gone. We have had to rely on Jessica’s family to stump up thousands and I now have no means of paying any of that money back to them.”
Blake said he had worked hard to get away from his criminal past which includes a string of convictions, including two counts of theft in 1986 and three more in 1987. In 1988 he was convicted of handling stolen goods and altering documents following a road traffic accident and in 1990 driving while disqualified. Blake was again convicted of theft in 1993.
He said: “I grew up in Lozells, the youngest of six in a single parent, mixed race family and I faced the difficulties that inner city life brings. It was silly juvenile behaviour as a result of getting mixed up with the wrong people.
"As soon as I realised what I was doing I worked extremely hard to get away from that life and since I have become well known I have never forgotten where I came from. I have been back into schools to try and act as a role model - to try and get the message across that you can get out with hard work and determination.”
Blake has been suspended from the BBC pending an internal disciplinary meeting.
He will be sentenced on September 2.