NewsCourts

Jail for policewoman who acquired CCTV of Gerrard bust-up to be used as "blackmail"

Jail: The policewoman footage wad going to use the footage as a "tool to blackmail" Gerrard
Jail: The policewoman footage wad going to use the footage as a "tool to blackmail" Gerrard

A corrupt policewoman has been jailed for 22 months after seizing CCTV footage of a street bust-up to be used as a "tool to blackmail" Liverpool footballer Steven Gerrard.

Helen Jones, 32, a former Pc with Merseyside Police, obtained the footage by "flashing her warrant card" to the manageress of a bank.

The incident involved friends of Gerrard, the then-England captain, becoming involved in a row with other men at a bar near his home in Formby, Merseyside, which spilled out on to the street and was caught on the CCTV cameras of a nearby bank.

Local businessman Paul Lloyd, 35, claimed Gerrard "threw the first punch" but, at an earlier hearing, prosecutors said the Liverpool midfielder was acting as a peacemaker on the evening of August 4 2013.

Jones, formerly of Formby, now living in Chatham, Kent, did not deny improperly using her status as a police officer to get the CCTV and admitted misconduct in a public office but claimed she was doing a favour for a friend.

But during a three day hearing, known as a trial of issue last November, Judge Stuart Baker said he found her account "wholly implausible", ruling Jones acted for "base motives" and described her as a "practised and persistent liar".

He said the CCTV was secured to use it "possibly as a lever to cause Mr Gerrard to pay money to suppress it or, at the very least, to use it in a away which would potentially cause embarrassment, as has in fact occurred".

Jailing her today Judge Baker told the defendant: "This was deliberate and calculated misconduct in a public office."

The judge added: "You deliberately created a false impression in the mind of the bank manager that you were investigating a criminal offence.

"In fact you were on a mission to obtain that matter so that you could put it either directly or through an intermediary, who would use it for his own ends, which were nothing whatsover to do with a criminal investigation."

Judge Baker said while Jones may not have known who, eventually, the CCTV would be passed to or for what purpose, it had caused Liverpool's Gerrard, and his friend Lee McPartland, "serious personal embarrassment", and damaged the reputation of Merseyside Police.

Jones made no reaction as she was jailed, though she had wept earlier when her lawyer recounted some of the "trauma" she had faced while on duty as a police officer.