The long-time girlfriend of former Kings Cross nightclub owner John Ibrahim has told a Sydney jury he likes to call himself “Sexy John”.
She also says she has never seen anything indicating Mr Ibrahim has a connection to guns or serious criminal activity.
Model and restaurateur Sarah Budge, who has dated the 51-year-old Sydney identity since 2013, gave evidence today during her NSW District Court trial on weapons possession charges.
“I helped him with his book and he made it clear in that he was anti-gun in his venues,” she said.
Budge, 29, has pleaded not guilty to three possession charges after police found a defaced Glock 26 pistol and a magazine loaded with 17 bullets in her unit in Sydney’s Double Bay in August 2017.
She said she had no idea the gun was in her bedroom wardrobe but, given Mr Ibrahim had her unit’s spare keys, he or one of his associates could have put it there.
Budge didn’t know how to load or unload the pistol, find the safety button or use the magazine, and would have said no if asked by Mr Ibrahim to hide a gun.
“There’s no way I’d have something so dangerous near me or in my unit,” she said.
Budge described Mr Ibrahim as charismatic, funny, stubborn and private, before revealing he calls himself “Sexy John”.
She acknowledged his “colourful identity” and that two of his siblings had been convicted of gun crimes.
However, she said she had never seen anything that indicated Mr Ibrahim was involved in crime and had only seen him handling a gun twice — at shooting ranges during overseas holidays.
Her understanding of his business was that he had stepped back from running venues in about 2013 and now managed a property portfolio, holding meetings at his home and local cafes.
“When he does business meetings and stuff like that, I’m never present,” she said.
“I wouldn’t be at the same table.”
The jury heard Mr Ibrahim published his autobiography Last King of the Cross in July 2017.
Budge said she played a key role in the book’s development, transcribing and editing notes over eight months on a laptop Mr Ibrahim bought specifically for that book.
That laptop containing unedited manuscripts was a key reason for police searching her unit in August 2017, the jury has heard.
But Budge said she hadn’t brought it to the apartment.
“I noticed it on my bed (one day) so I thought John must have dropped it off,” she said.
Budge said her relationship was unstable about the time of the book’s release and she felt “like crap” when Mr Ibrahim claimed during a radio interview he was single.
“(The comment) was a bit of a kick in the face.”
The jury has previously heard the spare Glock magazine was found in a chemist’s paper bag, which contained Budge’s fingerprints and a fingerprint of former strip club manager Michael Amante.
The trial continues.