An unnamed Premier League player is understood to be at the center of a blackmail plot after being caught cheating on his partner and reportedly jumping from a hotel window to evade detection, a UK court has heard.
The footballer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, met 28-year-old Natalie Wood on at least two occasions after the pair exchanged messages on social media.
Bristol Crown Court was told that she threatened the player with exposing their affair if he didn’t pay her a sum of money, and planned to take incriminating pictures of the player with the help of three other conspirators – one of whom, Tyrone Coleman, was a contestant on British dating show ‘Take Me Out’.
The court heard that Wood arranged a meeting with the player in a hotel room after leaving a spare key card to the room with co-defendants Nathan Coleman and Prince Rowe.
The men entered the hotel room which prompted the footballer to panic and escape down a fire escape in a state of undress, where he sought shelter in a nearby restaurant where he was recognized by staff members and given clothes before police arrived on the scene.
The unnamed player is “a well-known professional“, according to prosecutor Simon Jones.
“Last year, a plan was hatched to blackmail him, to expose him to the media if he didn’t pay money,” Jones continued.
The plan was thwarted by the complainant going to the police and the defendants being arrested. While no money was ever handed over, that doesn’t matter because this case concerns the existence of the blackmail plan itself.
Jones stated that the objective of the defendants was to capture an incriminating image of the player which would be “used to blackmail and extort money from him, threatening to take it to the media if he did not co-operate with the demands.”
The player provided evidence via video-link and told the court that Wood appeared “visibly nervous” before the men burst into the room.
“I had a funny feeling that something was wrong. Within minutes, the door opened and two guys walked in,” he said. “It happened so quickly. I just saw a window to my right.
“I managed to get out of the window without thinking of how high up it was. I thought – I’m in a room and two guys walked in and I’m in a bad situation. I jumped out of the window and I managed to get hold of the staircase.”
Wood has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to blackmail and says that she had been “used as bait” by the three men, who deny the charges as well as additional ones related to the alleged theft of the player’s tracksuit and Rolex watch.