Woman admits handling Rooney photos
A woman has admitted handling photos stolen from Coleen Rooney during a £5,000 blackmail plot.
Jennifer Green, 25, admitted knowing her boyfriend and business partner had the stolen photos, which were touted around newspapers and magazines for sale before being offered back to the Rooneys - at a price, Manchester Crown Court heard.
Green, who had denied blackmail and handling, pleaded guilty on the third day of her trial to an alternative handling charge and the blackmail case against her was dropped by the prosecution.
The jury were directed by Judge Anthony Gee QC, to formally return a not guilty verdict on the blackmail count.
Green admitted her involvement in the retention of the stolen photos, which included personal family pictures of Mrs Rooney, her footballer husband Wayne, their young son Kai and wider family. And she admitted putting prints of the photos in a folder, which was made, ready to hand over in return for the cash when a deal was agreed with the Rooneys.
But she 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.
Green is the girlfriend and business partner of Lee Platt, who along with Steven Malcolm, a handyman who worked for their furniture firm, have both admitted blackmail and handling.
The two men were much more deeply involved in the scam, with Green's role limited to handling the stolen photos which she knew were of the Rooney family, the court heard.
Platt and Green got their hands on the memory stick of Mrs Rooney's Samsung digital camera, which was stolen while she was watching a pop concert at the MEN Arena on May 24 last year, and then tried to sell the photos to the press before contacting Manchester United demanding £5,000 for return of the goods. An undercover police officer contacted the plotters and agreed to hand over the cash.
All three, all on bail, will be sentenced on January 30 after the preparation of probation reports.