Manchester

Pair 'attempted £5,000 Coleen Rooney blackmail'

Coleen Rooney
Image caption Coleen Rooney lost her mobile phone at a Black Eyed Peas concert last year

Coleen Rooney was subjected to a £5,000 blackmail plot involving hundreds of personal family photos on her mobile phone, a jury has been told.

Jennifer Green, 25, and Steven Malcolm, 42, from Manchester, deny demanding cash from the wife of Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney.

Both were held after Mrs Rooney's phone went missing at a concert at the MEN Arena in Manchester in May 2010.

The trial at Manchester Crown Court is expected to last a week.

Ms Green's partner Lee Platt has admitted handling stolen goods and blackmail, the jury was told.

Deborah Gould, prosecuting, said: "The prosecution case is that these two defendants together with Lee Platt, who is the partner of Jennifer Green, came into possession of the camera and the memory card and then sought by unlawful means to make money out of the situation."

Ms Gould said the defendants, Ms Green, of Heaton Park Road, Blackley, and Mr Malcolm, of Silkin Court, acted as a gang.

She said they contacted Manchester United Football Club trying to extract £1,000 from Coleen Rooney's agent for return of the memory card and the photographs.

Image caption Jennifer Green and Steven Malcolm deny demanding the money

She added: "Following some unpleasant publicity about Wayne Rooney, they then decided to up the ante and increased the amount of their demand to £5,000.

"They approached various media outlets including Hello magazine, The Sun and (Daily) Star with a view to selling them, these private stolen images.

"After Hello magazine informed Wayne Rooney's agent, a man called Paul Stretford, of the approach, the police were informed and decided to deploy an undercover police officer who pretended to be Coleen and Wayne Rooney's publicity agent."

The court heard the officer, who was given the pseudonym PC James, pretended he wanted to buy back the camera and contact was made with the gang.

PC James then said Mr Price, whom the prosecution claims was Mr Malcolm, demanded £5,000 because the cash would have to be split between three or four people, the court heard.

The pair then arranged to meet the man in the Marriott Hotel in Manchester city centre the following day.

When he handed over the photographs and memory card, Mr Malcolm was arrested, the jury heard.

'Thumbnail images'

"When he arrived for the meeting, Steven Malcolm was in possession of a black folder which contained 11 sheets," Ms Gould said.

"Upon which were printed about 400 thumbnail-sized images which had come from the memory card contained within Coleen Rooney's stolen camera."

Police later found the fingerprints of Ms Green and Platt on pages within the folder, the jury was told.

The trial continues.

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