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Liverpool star Steven Gerrard in 'target of blackmail'

By Kim Pilling

Liverpool footballer Steven Gerrard assaulted a businessman outside a bar when he "threw the first punch", a court has heard.

An altercation was partly captured on CCTV footage from a nearby bank obtained by an off-duty policewoman, said to be used as "a tool for blackmail".

Paul Lloyd (35) told Preston Crown Court he was later handed a DVD copy of the footage which he says shows the former England captain and 11 others attacking him in Formby, Merseyside, on August 4 last year.

His account was labelled as "nonsense" by a prosecutor who said that Gerrard (34) was seeking to avoid any confrontation. Days later after the incident, Helen Jones (33), on a career break from Merseyside Police,went to the Lloyd's Branch in Formby, "flashing her warrant card" to get a copy of the CCTV footage.

Jones, from Colchester Close, Chatham, Kent, has admitted misconduct in a public office.

Mr Lloyd was summoned to a hearing for a judge to decide whether Jones's conduct was for "criminal purposes".

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