'Blackmailer saw herself as high-living soap star'

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The Independent Online

A woman accused of blackmailing a retired football international considered herself akin to dominant female characters in the American soap Dynasty and the BBC sitcom The Good Life, Newcastle Crown Court was told yesterday.

A woman accused of blackmailing a retired football international considered herself akin to dominant female characters in the American soap Dynasty and the BBC sitcom The Good Life, Newcastle Crown Court was told yesterday.

Carolyn Pick, 36, from Washington, Tyne and Wear, identified with Margot Leadbetter, the bossy, affected housewife played by Penelope Keith in The Good Life.

"I like the best of everything; I like fine wine, champagne, smoked salmon and caviare, the best kind of houses, the best kind of cars, like BMWs and Jaguars, and I do like going to beautiful restaurants," Ms Pick told the star, who remains a figure in the world of sport. Ms Pick has pleaded not guilty to two charges of blackmail.

In tape recordings to the former footballer she also compared herself to Alexis Colby - a character played by Joan Collins in Dynasty who would "get revenge on any man that got in her way" - before saying her nickname for the ex-footballer was JR (Ewing), the character played by Larry Hagman in Dallas. Ms Pick said she and the former footballer had had "telephone sex" on two occasions and that she wouldrelease a tape of their conversation to the media if he did not "correct matters".

Publication of the former footballer's identity has been forbidden by Judge David Hodson, as is customary in blackmail cases, but it did surface on the internet yesterday, forcing the judge to incorporate the internet in his contempt-of-court order.

On day three of Ms Pick's trial the jury heard four more hours of the tapes, the rambling, eccentric contents of which have already visibly amused the court this week. On one tape Ms Pick said: "My nickname for you is JR. You do tell lies, like, don't you? You're ruthless and very good at putting on an act in public; a very good actor. I think I hold your career and your reputation in the palm of my hand and I've got you wrapped around my little finger; I've got complete power over you."

Ms Pick threatened to send the tape of their conversations to North-east football managers and another footballer.

The court then heard song extracts, including "The Bitch" from the Joan Collins film of the same name and "Devil Woman" by Cliff Richard, as well as "Diamonds are Forever". On other tapes Ms Pick also sang lurid songs herself, which made continuous allusions to sex and their alleged conversations.

The prosecution has said the stalking began in 1995, when Ms Pick became fixated with the star and bombarded him with tape recordings and letters. She was cautioned by the police in 1997 for her behaviour but it restarted and became "sinister and nauseating".

Yesterday Detective Inspector Jonathan Cox told the court he had searched Ms Pick's house and discovered a picture of the footballer, anenvelope addressed to him, copies of tapes allegedly already sent to him, and a map of England with the town where he lives underlined.

The trial continues.

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