Off-duty policewoman 'took CCTV footage of street brawl to blackmail Steven Gerrard'
CCTV footage of a street brawl involving Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard in August last year was used as a tool for blackmail, a trial at Preston crown court revealed on Tuesday (Nov 25).
The Liverpool midfielder was out celebrating his Anfield testimonial with friends at a bar in Merseyside when there was a dispute with another group.
Both groups, including a man named Lee McPartland, then took to the streets outside Lloyd's Bank where the altercation was captured on CCTV on Aug 4, reported British media.
Police officer Helen Jones told the court that she entered Lloyd's bank a few days later to obtain the footage.
After flashing her warrant card, Jones, who was in plain clothing, told the bank manager: "the job I do, no people would talk to me."
The prosecution said that a phone call made through a Merseyside Police call operator to Lloyds Bank at Jones' request was to "provide a smokescreen" and "add authenticity" to her actions.
Gerrard, who reportedly acted as peacemaker, also began receiving demands from Paul Lloyd, a man who was also involved in the tussle, according to Mail Online.
Richard Haworth said while prosecuting: "Paul Lloyd said he had been offered a substantial amount of money by the press for his story."
The court heard that Gerrard's and Liverpool FC's solicitor was later contacted by the head of press at Anfield to say that The Sun newspaper had been provided with a copy of the footage.
Haworth said: "The Crown's case remains that Mr Gerrard was seeking to avoid any involvement, or any form of aggression or confrontation, and as far as he was concerned was attempting to defuse the situation."
Jones, 33, who was arrested for conspiracy to commit blackmail, had her charge dropped but admitted to misconduct, reported The Mirror.
She also admitted taking the disc, but said her act was something out of concern for an individual claiming to have been attacked by a group that had a "well-know individual".
"I had been assured there was no intent to use any evidence criminally," she said.
The police officer of eight years was suspended but resigned last December.
The trial continues into whether her conduct was for “criminal purposes".
Source: Mail Online, Mirror Online