27th August 1984

Oliver Reed was jailed in Guernsey

Oliver Reed moved to Guernsey in the late 1970s so he could avoid paying high taxes back on the mainland. He took up residence at the Duke of Normandie Hotel in St Peter Port.

He already had a reputation for drinking by then, and it was this habit that ultimately got him into trouble with the authorities.

Explaining what had happened to Channel Television, he related how a friend of his had visited Guernsey and Reed, not being used to what he was drinking, had got “fairly merry”. His friend was staying at the Duke of Normandie, where the 46-year-old Reed was also staying with his 20-year-old girlfriend Josephine Burge. In an attempt to talk to his friend, Reed put his hand through one of the hotel windows while wearing only his underwear.

Wrong window

Reed had been outside at the time and the window had not been open. To make matters worse, the window he’d broken wasn’t in the room his friend was staying in, but one of the staff bedrooms.

When the police arrived, they gave Reed several warnings to go inside and stay there. When he ignored them, they had taken him into custody to await a magistrates court appearance on charges of criminal damage and behaving in a disorderly manner while drunk.

The police kept him in custody for a couple of days. Upon his release, Reed said that he had been treated very well, although the food could have been better.

Life after the Duke of Normandie

Reed married Josephine Burge in 1985, and famously drank 106 pints of beer in the two days running up to the wedding. After a year at the Duke of Normandie, the two settled on Guernsey for the next 15 years. She was widowed in 1999 when he died of a heart attack while filming Gladiator in Malta. By then, he had left Guernsey and settled in Churchtown, Ireland.


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