Blackmail case woman admits lying over photos

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A woman accused of blackmailing a retired international footballer admitted yesterday that she lied when she denied giving photographs of herself to the media.

A woman accused of blackmailing a retired international footballer admitted yesterday that she lied when she denied giving photographs of herself to the media.

Carolyn Pick, 36, had told the jury at Newcastle Crown Court that she did not give journalists pictures of herself in a yellow bikini to help publicise her case against the former footballer. But Ms Pick admitted yesterday that she handed over photographs to a reporter from a regional news agency.

Gavin Foster, a journalist at North News and Pictures, told the court Ms Pick had given him copies of photographs she sent to the former footballer during the alleged blackmail campaign. The pictures have since appeared in local and national newspapers.

In cross-examination, Robert Woodcock, for the prosecution, said to Ms Pick: "You said you had never given any photos of yourself to anyone in the press. Was that a clear lie?" Ms Pick said: "Yes, but he [Mr Foster] told me not to tell anyone else about it."

Ms Pick, from Washington, Tyne and Wear, is accused of blackmailing the former footballer, by claiming she had an audio tape of them having telephone sex and would release it to the press unless he was "very nice to her". She denies two counts of blackmail.

Earlier in yesterday's court appearance Ms Pick said the photographs of her that had appeared in the press had been taken from her mother's house by journalists without her knowledge or consent.

Mr Foster said he had obtained the pictures after telephoning Ms Pick and meeting her at her house where she handed him six photographs.

He said: "She drew my attention to one photograph which was of her on holiday in a yellow bikini. She agreed for me to take the photographs away with me."

Ms Pick claimed Mr Foster had been harassing her at home, ringing her buzzer for half an hour. She said she decided to let him in hoping he would then leave and added Mr Foster was behaving in a "sinister" manner.

She said: "I kept asking him to go. I must have asked him about 20 times. In the end I was so worn down I did give him the pictures. He said he wouldn't leave me alone unless I did."

In his evidence the former footballer said he had been tricked into calling Pick but denied having telephone sex.

Ms Pick claimed he called on 2 January 1996, two months after the first conversation. She said the dialogue was similar to the first call and he wanted to talk about sexual matters. She said that although she felt used by the conversation, she said she still liked the former footballer and wanted to meet him. Ms Pick added: "I liked him and I was flattered to have this world famous footballer wanting to meet me."

But when he failed to contact her several month later she telephoned him at work, asking why he had not called.

Ms Pick claims he hung up after saying he did not know who she was. She then sent audio cassettes to the footballer's workplace demanding he travelled to see her to apologise. The tapes, which the jury has listened to, are the basis of the prosecution's case for blackmail.

Ms Pick claims she only wanted him to say sorry for ignoring her, but admitted under cross-examination that she knew the tapes were intimidating. The trial continues.