How Ben Goldsmith staged the craziest stag stunt ever! Held in a dawn swoop, a terrified bridegroom is close to tears as LA police tell him he’ll be in jail on his wedding day. Then his friends burst in…

Engineering Evil: WOW, Just wow.. There are so many things wrong with this. It does not take a vivid imagination to see all the wonderful ways this luxury of creativity can be utilized in the future, by these pranksters. With this much power, I wonder how much fun they have with their adversaries.. ?

By Nick Craven

PUBLISHED:19:50 EST, 20  October 2012| UPDATED:19:52 EST, 20 October 2012

The humiliating stag weekend prank is a  traditional rite of passage for grooms-to-be everywhere. But if your best man is  Ben Goldsmith, you can forget about anything as mild as being handcuffed to a  lamppost or having an eyebrow shaved.

For the financier executed an elaborate and  prolonged hoax on his Old Etonian friend Alex Tulloch, which left the terrified  groom convinced  he would spend his wedding day languishing in an American  jail cell.

Mr Tulloch, a banker, was subjected to an  alarming four-hour ordeal in  Los Angeles before his friends revealed it  was all a big practical joke. His torment began after he retired to the £200-a-night Erwin Hotel in Venice Beach after a night on the town with his stag  party.

Ordeal: Alex Tulloch in the take LA police station,  seated between Fred Duff Gordon (left) and Leo de Montaignac (right)

Early the next morning, a police squad car  screeched up to the hotel reception with sirens blaring and blue lights  flashing. Two uniformed LAPD officers stormed up to his room and clapped him and  two friends into handcuffs with no explanation.

The three men were then taken to a police  station and held incommunicado for two hours in separate cells, each sharing  with burly tattooed ‘felons’ who shouted and rattled the bars, putting ‘the fear  of God into them’, according to one friend.

When a desperately worried Mr  Tulloch  explained to the officers he was due to marry Harriet Baly in London the  following week, he was told it could be two weeks before he was even taken  before a judge.

‘Welcome to the American justice system,’ the  terrified groom was told.

After two hours the three men were escorted  into an interrogation room, where they were clearly very worried about the  severity of the situation. It was only then that the rest of their friends –who  had been watching in hysterics through one-way glass – burst into the room to  reveal the joke.

‘You’ve been Punk’d!’ said Mr Goldsmith,  quoting the catchphrase of the MTV hidden-camera show fronted by Ashton  Kutcher.

The stunt was organised through one of Mr  Goldsmith’s friends in the entertainment industry, who lent  him a set from  a TV show which is designed as a police station, complete with authentic police  cars outside, cells and an interview room.

The mastermind: Ben Goldsmith with his new girlfriend  Jemima Jones. The stunt was organised through Mr Goldsmith’s friends in the  entertainment industry

Eight people were involved in the set-up,  including two genuine off-duty cops who had permission to play their roles in  seizing Mr Tulloch and his friends from their hotel rooms, plus actors employed  to play the grizzled jailbirds.

The two other friends who were subjected to  the ordeal were public relations executive Fred Duff Gordon – whose  great-great-uncle Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon  survived the sinking of the  Titanic – and agricultural entrepreneur  Leo de Montaignac. The trio, all  Eton contemporaries of Prince  William, were equally taken in by the  performance.

‘It was utterly convincing in every detail,’ Mr Duff Gordon, 31, told The Mail on Sunday, as he expressed a ‘grudging  admiration’ for his friends’ ‘twisted imaginations’.

‘When the hotel reception first called us, we  were all hung-over and hadn’t been asleep that long so we all ignored it. A very  short time later, there was a bang at the door and there were two LAPD  officers.

‘They took us in without any explanation,  just telling us we were under arrest, but they gave us the impression it was  something serious.

‘On the way to the station in West Hollywood,  the officers ramped up the pressure even more by telling us there was a shortage  of cells at the county jail, so some pretty hardened prisoners were having to be  housed in police cells.

‘They assured us we’d be in a cell together,  but of course we weren’t – we each had to share with a pretty frightening  character. I later learned Ben had hand-picked our cellmates from their  photographs to make sure they were scary enough. Ben’s got a very twisted sense  of humour – but that’s why we love him.

Just married: Alex Tulloch looked a lot happier at his  wedding in London to Harriet Baly

‘Leo’s cellmate was a 20-stone tattooed and  bearded Latino “criminal” who kept shouting at the guards and rattling the cell  bars. He would draw a finger across his throat whenever the police officers  walked by.

‘At the very beginning I had a tiny suspicion  it was a prank, but as it went on, all those doubts disappeared because it was  just inconceivable that anyone would go to these lengths. I clearly  underestimated Ben and the others.

‘In the back of our minds, we thought this  must be some horrible mistake and in time it would get sorted out, but the talk  of being kept there for two weeks was especially devastating for Alex, because  he was getting married a week later.

‘It was only when we were taken  in for “interrogation” that we were told the truth, and Ben and the other friends  emerged with video cameras. But we were so scared it took quite a while before  we really came back to our senses.

‘I wasn’t too pleased with Ben afterwards – especially as Leo and I weren’t even the groom. Apparently they wanted to make  it more convincing and also to have someone there that Alex knew, so he didn’t  feel absolutely on his own.’

Not amused: Mr Tulloch was subjected to an alarming  four-hour ordeal in LA before his friends revealed that it was all a  joke

After the prank was revealed, the party – which included William Aitken, son of former Tory Minister Jonathan Aitken – flew on to Las Vegas to continue their stag weekend in more traditional  style.

But 31-year-old Mr Tulloch, his bride and her  parents – hedge fund boss Guy Baly and charity fundraiser Nicky Baly – were  apparently slow to see the funny side. ‘It was the ultimate stag party stunt,’ said a friend. Every detail had been carefully planned. The trouble was it was  just too convincing and went on a bit too long.

‘Alex was in a terrible state by the time  they told him it was all a joke, and he wasn’t ready to accept their apologies  for quite some time.’

Goldsmith, working with venture capitalist  Chris Hunter and property developer Iain Russell, had left no detail to chance  as they arranged to have the entire ‘police station’ covered by CCTV  cameras.

After Goldsmith, son of the late billionaire  financier Sir James Goldsmith, released a photo of Tulloch  in handcuffs,  the bride sent him a message reading: ‘Ben you are  disinvited from the  wedding.’ On the same day, Mr Tulloch himself appeared in a more forgiving mood,  posting under a picture: ‘I am in two minds as to whether I should burn that  shirt or not.

‘On the one hand it will remind me forever of  the worst four hours of my life, but on the other it does make me look quite  ripped up. Ben, Chris & Rusty you are still d***s.’

He declined to comment last week, but told  friends that ‘as a close friend of Ben’s, this sort of thing comes with the  territory’.

The couple apparently forgave Goldsmith  eventually, as his invitation to the wedding at Chelsea register office and a  subsequent blessing in Portugal was not withdrawn.

But Mr Goldsmith – who is in a new  relationship with film producer and underwear model Jemima Jones after his  public break-up with wife Kate Rothschild following her affair with a rapper – should probably watch his own back.

Mr Duff Gordon added darkly: ‘There will be  other weddings and other stag parties. There will be  a  reckoning.

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