Tamara Ecclestone, the model and television presenter daughter of Formula 1 billionaire Bernie, has appeared in court to face a former boyfriend who allegedly attempted to blackmail her into handing over hundreds of thousands of pounds or face “intimate secrets” being sold to the tabloid press.
Whatever intimate secrets Derek Rose, 33, shares with Ms Ecclestone, five years his junior, they can scarcely have felt more distant than today, when the pair arrived at Southwark Crown Court in London.
Ms Ecclestone wore a monochrome suit, dark glasses and towering Louboutins to confront her former beau, now shaven-headed, and described a little generously by court reporters as “heavy set”.
William Boyce QC, prosecuting, told jurors that the co-accused Jakir Uddin, a 20-year-old Media Studies student working in conjunction with Mr Rose, had emailed Tamara Ecclestone’s agent Dana Malmstrom at 1.20am on 16 November 2011, the same day as the second episode of a three-part series on Miss Ecclestone aired on TV.
“One of the biggest tabloids,” Mr Uddin wrote, claiming to be Mr Rose’s representative, had made a “life-changing offer” to take part in a kiss-and-tell story.
Mr Boyce said: “Mr Rose, a long time ago, when she was 17, was Miss Ecclestone’s boyfriend. In the email, using Mr Uddin, who pretended he was his ‘representative’, they were effectively saying ‘give us £200,000 or we’ll sell intimate secrets to a tabloid newspaper.
“There were early drafts, early communications between the defendants, to achieve just the right words to achieve their ends.”
In the message, Mr Uddin said: “As you can imagine, since Miss Ecclestone’s show has been aired, my client has been inundated with offers from a lot of today’s major tabloids, plus many television companies and radio.
“Now they all seem to want to talk to my client about Tamara, and Tamara only.
“I’ve asked my client not to talk to the press about Tamara for 10 years, and have let her live her life.
“On Monday this week we was approached (sic) by one of the biggest tabloids with a life-changing offer of £200,000 to disclose all.
“My client is a quiet family man, and doesn’t need the headache of this story coming out.’
He then asks if Miss Ecclestone would be interested in signing a ‘non-release’ agreement with Rose, adding: “Should an agreement be reached then at no point in his life can, or will, he speak to the press about Tamara or her family.”
The barrister said the email went on with “pernicious” implications about damage to Ms Ecclestone's reputation.
Mr Boyce told the court Mr Rose had made £10,000 from selling his story to the Mail on Sunday in 2002.
Mr Rose, 33, of Arlington Road, Camden, London, and Jakir Uddin, of Old Walsall Road, Birmingham, both deny blackmail.
Ms Ecclestone told the court that after receiving the email she had wanted Mr Rose “warned” about his behaviour, and not necessarily arrested.
The trial continues.