Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Two men jailed over Rooney plot

Two men who tried to blackmail Coleen Rooney have been jailed for a total of three years and eight months.

The sum of £5,000 was demanded from the wife of Manchester United and England footballer Wayne Rooney in return for her Samsung digital camera which contained more than 400 photographs on the memory card.

The photos showed the couple's son Kai, family holidays and their home and wider family, which were all touted for sale to newspapers and magazines.

Appearing at Manchester Crown Court, Lee Platt, 29, was jailed for two years after admitting blackmail and receiving stolen goods at an earlier hearing. His co-defendant Steven Malcolm, 42, was jailed for 20 months for the same offences.

Platt got his hands on the memory stick of Mrs Rooney's camera, which went missing at the MEN Arena in Manchester on May 24, 2010. Platt's girlfriend Jennifer Green, 26, was sentenced to a 12-month community order and 60 hours of unpaid work after admitting assisting in the retention of stolen goods.

The blackmailers initially rang Manchester United before they attempted to extract £1,000 from Mrs Rooney's agent, Paul Stretford. But after "unpleasant publicity" about Rooney's private life, they upped the demand to £5,000.

They also approached Hello! magazine, The Sun and Daily Star with a view to selling them. However, after the approach to Mr Stretford the police were called in and a sting operation mounted. An undercover police officer contacted the plotters and a meeting agreed to do the deal was set up in September 2010.

Malcolm - a handyman at his co-defendants' furniture business - turned up at the Marriott Hotel in Manchester and handed over a folder of the snaps along with the camera memory card expecting the £5,000 payment - but was promptly arrested.

Police later found the fingerprints of both Green and Platt on pages within the folder.

But Green was "further down the chain" and the prosecution accepted she did not get involved or have any knowledge the photos were going to be used to demand money from Mrs Rooney.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph