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 striker Wayne Rooney in return for her Samsung digital camera which contained more than 400 photos 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 while she was watching a pop concert at the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester on May 24, 2010.

Platt's girlfriend, Jennifer Green, 26, was sentenced to a 12-month community order and told to perform 60 hours of unpaid work after admitting assisting in the retention of stolen goods.

Deborah Gould, prosecuting, said Coleen Rooney made a victim impact statement last week.

"She indicates that she would use her camera to take personal photographs. Photographs not intended to reach the media, purely private photographs.

"She realised when she left the concert she no longer had the camera and it was reported stolen," said Miss Gould.

She added Mrs Rooney said it was "upsetting " to receive a request for money during a period of "unwanted media activity" for her husband.

"What was particularly distressing was that the family pictures were of no relevance to anyone else other than her and her family," she continued. "And it was said that the pictures showed her husband in some state which was untrue and caused her distress."

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.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests