10:05 07 December 2009
I'm a Celeb King of the Jungle Gino D'Acampo has been arrested on charges of animal cruelty.
He and fellow contestant Stuart Manning were taken into custody by Australian police, for killing a rat on the show.
Moments after he was crowned winner of I'm a Celeb 2009, the Italian chef was arrested and charged with Manning for animal cruelty. The pair could face up to three years in prison, it has been reported.
Gino was quizzed by Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) investigators moments after filming ended, after it was claimed the animal they ate was tame.
A source said: "There were rats used for the bushtucker trials and they were as tame as hamsters. They were used to human contact and not afraid like wild ones who would run away. The killing made for dramatic TV. But it's likely the animal was one of the trial rats."
Hollyoaks actor Manning reportedly caught and beheaded the rodent before D'Acampo turned it into a rat risotto.
ITV bosses have been ordered to surrender all footage of the killing which was not shown on TV for investigation.
The two stars will appear in court on February 3. If found guilty they could face a prison term of up to three years.
Co-star George Hamilton has defended the pair, claiming that ITV producers had given them permission to eat the rodent.
The actor told the Daily Mirror: "I went into the Bush Telegraph and said, 'May we eat a rat?' They were a bit shocked, thought about it and then said we could. It was a very good dinner."
However, I'm a Celeb makers will not face prosecution, the RSPCA has reportedly told the broadcaster.
Jungle King D'Acampo has remained defiant about the incident, according The Sun, claiming:
"I don't regret one single thing I did in the jungle to feed my campmates."
"It was the best recipe I ever did. It was beautiful."
The celebrity chef has previously spent two years behind bars after he stole £4,000 worth of Paul Young's guitars.
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