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George Gets Arrested, Paul Gets Hitched (March 12, 1969)

Paul and Linda wedToday in Odd History, Paul McCartney married Linda Eastman, an American photographer, at the Marylebone Registry Office in London. That in itself was not so strange, but on the same day, George Harrison and his wife, Pattie Boyd, were arrested for possession of marijuana.

Pattie Boyd opened the door that day to find Sergeant Norman Pilcher, the same man who had spearheaded John Lennon's arrest for drugs the previous year, outside with a team of men, a pack of dogs, and a search warrant. She let them in, and then called her husband. George came home to find his house a shambles. He was less than happy about the mess. "You needn’t have turned the whole bloody place upside down," he said. "All you had to do was ask me and I would have shown you where I keep everything." A generous offer, no doubt, but Pilcher and his men had already found more than 120 joints. George and Pattie were both taken into custody. As the police led them out of the house, a photographer appeared. George's temper finally snapped. He chased the photographer down the street, with the cops trailing along behind, and stomped on the man's camera when he dropped it.

George and Pattie Later that day, George and Pattie were released on bail, in time to go to a party that night. A number of British nobles were there, and George made an effort to rally one of them to his cause. According to Pattie, "George saw Lord Snowdon and said, 'I'm going to talk to him, maybe he can stop this bust,' and I was casually looking around, when suddenly I spotted my younger sister Paula puffing on a joint which she then proceeded to offer Princess Margaret ... I couldn't believe it, it was the early evening, of the same day that we'd just been busted and there was my sister trying to hand Princess Margaret a joint!" It hardly seems surprising that Princess Margaret, too, declined to order that the charges be dropped.

George maintained that the bust had been a frame, designed to detract from Paul's wedding. (John had also complained of a set up when Pilcher arrested him in 1968.) He pointed out that the police had failed to find the drugs that he had actually kept in the house. Rumor also has it that the packet of hash found in Pattie's bag had been left on the windshield of her car when she was out shopping. Nonetheless, he and Pattie pled guilty to possession of marijuana. They were fined 250 pounds each, but the court gave back a pipe that the police had confiscated.

As it eventually turned out, there was good reason to believe that Pilcher could have planted the drugs that led to George and Pattie's arrest. On November 8, 1972*, upon evidence that he had planted drugs in other cases and perjured himself in court, Sergeant Pilcher was charged with "conspiracy to pervert the course of justice." He was sentenced to four years in prison.



Images:
Photo of Paul and Linda's wedding is from Vintage Rock
Photo of George and Pattie from Wild Honey Pie--A Pattie Boyd Biography

Sources:
The History Channel
Beatles Reference Library: Sgt. Pilcher
Pattie Boyd, at Swingin' Chicks of the '60s
Space Interview
A Pattie Boyd Biography*
Wild Honey Pie--A Pattie Boyd Biography
1972 Year in Beatles History

More about the Beatles:
Every Little ThingThe Beatles Every Little Thing : A Compendium of Witty, Weird and Ever-Surprising Facts About the Fab Four, by Maxwell MacKenzie
The drugs. The wives. The girlfriends. The lawsuits. The concerts. The films. Everything you ever wanted to know about the Beatles, all dished out in bite-sized chunks. Easily accessible and lots of fun.

 

 

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