Sydney: Male escort lured to hotel room for fake ‘hit’

BELLINDA KONTOMINAS COURTS
April 9, 2010

WHEN Paul Dunshea was called to a room at the Hilton Hotel, the male escort had no idea he was about to be the star in a prime-time current affairs show.

Mr Dunshea, who is now a full-time student and goes by the name Aalex Valentino, thought it unusual that there were two men in the room, but he complied when he was asked by one of the men to sit next to him on the lounge chair. ”I did so and then he told me that he was there to murder me,” Mr Dunshea told the Supreme Court.

The escort’s ”clients” were the A Current Affair reporter Ben Fordham and his producer, Andrew Byrne.

The pair, along with Channel Nine, have been charged with secretly recording a former mayor of Waverley, James Markham, allegedly organising the hit.

Mr Markham’s nephew, Adam Tolmie, is serving a three-year good behaviour bond for concealing a serious crime.

Mr Dunshea yesterday told the Supreme Court that Mr Fordham said the hit had been ordered because it was believed he had blackmailed someone.

”I have never been involved with blackmail and my clients trust me absolutely with matters of their soul,” Mr Dunshea said. ”I just felt straight away that they definitely got the wrong person.”

Mr Byrne and Mr Fordham asked Mr Dunshea to go on camera to hug Mr Tolmie, who had alerted them to the plot, and to thank him for saving his life.

But Mr Dunshea said he did not feel it was safe or right to hug a man who had been hired to kill him. He also took issue with the fact that he was not being paid for his involvement.

”They kept insisting that I say thank you to Mr Tolmie,” Mr Dunshea told the court.

Ben Fordham then leaned in close to his ear and ”threatened” him, Mr Dunshea told the court.

”I can make you look pretty stupid with video if you don’t say thank you to this man who saved your life,” Mr Fordham had allegedly said.

Earlier, Mr Tolmie had told the court he was “suffering financially” when he tricked his uncle into paying him $12,000 to organise the hit.

But he denied that he, his brother Donald and Mr Markham were each in on an elaborate scheme to get Channel Nine to pay millions for the footage.

See original at: Sydney Morning Herald

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