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Liverpool star Steven Gerrard in 'target of blackmail'

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Pc Helen Jones arriving at Preston Crown Court for an earlier hearing

Pc Helen Jones arriving at Preston Crown Court for an earlier hearing

Pc Helen Jones arriving at Preston Crown Court for an earlier hearing

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".

Belfast Telegraph