Hartlepool gym owner and ex-Mr Universe Eddy Ellwood to stand trial over alleged Covid-19 breaches

A Hartlepool gym owner and former Mr Universe is to stand trial for allegedly breaching coronavirus lockdown regulations next month.

By Kevin Clark
Thursday, 17th February 2022, 10:57 am
Updated Thursday, 17th February 2022, 10:57 am

Former Mr Universe Edmund “Eddy” Ellwood faces four charges relating to two dates in February last year.

Ellwood, whose address was given as that of this business, Xtreme Fitness, Unit 2, on the Longhill Industrial Estate, in Hartlepool, denies two offences each on both February 2 and February 7, 2021.

The charges say that on each date he contravened a direction given by Hartlepool Borough Council, under emergency coronavirus legislation, by allowing individuals “to enter the premises for purposes other than paid employment or for the essential and specific upkeep and maintenance of the premises” and that he contravened a prohibition notice given by the council.

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The 57 year old initially appeared at Teesside Magistrates’ Court, in Middlesbrough, in October and returned to court in November, when he entered pleas of not guilty to all four charges.

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He was back before the court for a case management hearing this week ahead of a two-day trial to start on March 31.

A small number of anti-lockdown protestors staged a demonstration outside the court in support of Mr Ellwood during his previous court appearances.

Eddy Elmwood outside Teesside Magistrates Court

He has previously spoken of his objections to the closure of gyms during lockdowns, saying they provide an important service for people, especially those with mental health issues.

Mr Ellwood, originally from East Durham, clinched the Mr Universe title five times between 1997-2001 and was England’s Strongest Man winner on three occasions between 2003-05.

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