Twist in the tale of super-injunctions: judge says footballer 'was blackmail victim'

A former Big Brother contestant yesterday failed in an attempt to overturn a gagging order covering her alleged affair with a married Premiership footballer after a judge ruled she may have been trying to blackmail the star with demands for a signed shirt, match tickets and up to £100,000.

Imogen Thomas, 28, said she was "stunned" by the findings of Mr Justice Eady as he threw out a bid by her lawyers and The Sun newspaper to lift the privacy injunction banning publicity about the claimed relationship. The ruling could have far-reaching implications for "kiss and tell" stories after the High Court heard their publication was not in the public interest.

In an eight-page judgment, Mr Justice Eady, some of whose rulings in recent years have been criticised for helping to foist a privacy law on England and Wales, said there was "ample reason not to trust" Ms Thomas on the basis of evidence which suggested she was seeking a six-figure pay-off from her alleged former lover.

The glamour model was accused by the footballer of contacting him by texts and phone calls in March and April this year in an attempt to persuade him to hand over an autographed football shirt, tickets and a payment of £50,000 in return for not selling her story of their claimed six-month relationship. She strongly denied the allegations.

The judge, who underlined he was making his findings on preliminary evidence and had made no decision as to its truthfulness, said it nonetheless "appeared to strongly suggest that the [footballer] was being blackmailed (although that is not how he put it himself)".

Outlining two meetings last month between Ms Thomas and the player at hotels where he was staying, Mr Justice Eady said the player had attended the first reluctantly, eventually handing over the signed shirt before telling her he was not prepared to meet her demand that she "needed" £50,000.

At the second meeting a few days later, an unspecified number of tickets were handed over. The judge said it seemed the player, who has a family, had been "set up" by Ms Thomas so photographs could be taken at either one or both of the hotels.

On 12 April, the player, who claims to have met Ms Thomas on three occasions between September and December last year, sent her a text severing all contact. Mr Justice Eady continued: "Then, in something of a quandry, he thought better of it and sent her a further message... This was to convey to her that he might be willing to pay some money after all. By this time, however, she made it clear that she was looking for £100,000."

Renewing the order granting the player anonymity, the judge said the circumstances of his case meant he had a "reasonable expectation" of privacy and there was "no suggestion of any legitimate public interest" in publishing the story.

Ms Thomas denied asking her claimed lover for money or being behind a story in The Sun about the alleged affair. She said: "Yet again, my name and my reputation are being trashed while the man I had a relationship with is able to hide. What's more, I can't even defend myself because I've been gagged. Where's the fairness in this?"

News
people
Sport
Yaya Sanogo celebrates scoring the opening goal with Arsenal's English midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
champions leagueLive: All the latest from the Emirates and Bulgaria, where Liverpool face Ludogorets
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst- Insurance

Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst - Insurance ...

Recruitment Genius: Property Manager

£25000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent, growing Sales...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Multi-skilled graphic designer ...

Austen Lloyd: Court of Protection Solicitor

£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: Court of Protection Solic...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire