Ecclestone ex jailed for blackmail
A former boyfriend of socialite and model Tamara Ecclestone has been jailed for four years for blackmailing the heiress for £200,000.
Derek Rose, 33, who dated the daughter of Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone in 2002, was involved in a plot in which it was claimed that he was approached to sell his story to a tabloid newspaper.
Rose was included in an email mentioning the possibility of discussing "a non-release fee" and signing a confidentiality contract.
Judge Andrew Goymer, at Southwark Crown Court, told him: "This was an audacious attempt to obtain a large sum of money." Rose, of Arlington Road, Camden, north London, was found guilty of the charge on Monday.
The court heard that he dated Ecclestone when she was 17, before changing his name by deed poll from Jonathan Ketterman.
The blackmail arose from an email sent on November 16, 2011, after Ms Ecclestone had starred in Billion Dollar Girl, a reality television programme exploring her life as a rich youngster, and after she had generated publicity in charity campaigns. It claimed Rose had been offered £200,000 to sell his story to the tabloid press, despite no newspaper having made such an offer.
The trial heard that the email had "pernicious" implications and was sent to elicit money from Ms Ecclestone, 28. The email said Rose had been asked by television shows, radio programmes and a major tabloid to talk about their relationship.
The judge said that 10 years ago, Rose was in a relationship with Ms Ecclestone, which ended acrimoniously. "You felt extremely hurt, and within a few days of writing a bitter message, you were selling your story to a tabloid newspaper, and that speaks volumes about your true character." For nearly a decade, he had no contact with her. "She came to your attention again in November 2011 when she was the subject of a television series. The email that you sent on 16th November in which you threatened to reveal personal details was not the product of a broken heart. All that was long in the past."
The jury failed to reach a verdict on Rose's co-accused Jakir Uddin, 20, of Old Walsall Road, Birmingham, and the prosecution is considering whether to seek a retrial of him.
Ms Ecclestone welcomed the sentence. Her family lawyer Charlotte Harris, of the firm Mishcon de Reya, said in a statement: "Tamara Ecclestone is relieved that Judge Goymer has acknowledged, in his sentencing of Derek Rose, the serious nature of blackmail and the need to deter others from attempting to commit similar offences. Ms Ecclestone was content to waive her anonymity in giving evidence because she strongly believes that all people have a right to be protected from such cynical and vicious behaviour. The sentence of four years is welcomed."