Premier League footballer blackmail trial: Messages between defendants revealed
A former Take Me Out contestant sent a message stating that a Premier League footballer’s “days are numbered” before allegedly blackmailing him, a court heard.
The player, who cannot be named for legal reasons, jumped out of a hotel room wearing only his underwear after being filmed with a woman who was not his partner.
He had previously met Natalie Wood, 28, on two occasions after contacting her on social media and arranged to meet her for a third time last year.
Wood, along with three men, allegedly hatched a plot to blackmail the sportsman by filming “incriminating” footage of him in bed with her.
Bristol Crown Court has heard the plan was formed after Wood revealed her liaisons with the footballer to former Take Me Out contestant Tyrone Coleman, 34.
Simon Jones, prosecuting, told jurors that messages between the defendants, and Wood and the player, had been examined by police as part of the investigation.
In one voice message sent before the incident, Rowe told Tyrone Coleman: “…been plotting this for too long to be taken out of the equation”.
Coleman replied: “[The footballer’s] days are numbered. It is what it is fam. The dirty ****.”
Other messages between Rowe and Coleman included advice for Wood to be flirty in messages to the footballer, to “keep him enticed and draw him in”.
Rowe suggested that Wood, of Cleethorpes, should “play it smooth – make him want this now”.
She sent the player a number of “provocative” messages ahead of their meeting, Simon Jones, prosecuting, said.
“The picture that is really building here is how carefully managed all of this is – it is all a sting,” Mr Jones told the jury.
In one message, Wood told Tyrone Coleman: “Something I’m hella nervous about. What other girl would be willing to do this for you? As well as it benefits all of us I know.”
Coleman sent a screenshot of messages between Wood and the player – discussing football training and the cost of their hotel room – to Rowe.
The player previously told how he and Wood had exchanged “general chit chat” on social media before meeting at a hotel.
He would transfer money to Wood, who would pay for the hotel room and check in before he arrived – sending him the room number in a message.
On the final occasion, the player said Wood seemed “nervous” and was using her mobile phone, which was odd as they were “only going there for one thing”.
“All of a sudden, two guys just walked into the room,” he told jurors.
“One of the guys said something like: ‘Is this what you are doing?’. It happened so quickly. It seemed so staged.
“I managed to get out of the window without without thinking how high up it was.”
The footballer took hold of a fire escape and was able to run down to a car park before fleeing into a nearby restaurant, where he took shelter until police arrived.
His designer tracksuit and Rolex watch, which he had taken off in the room, were missing when officers went to it.
Rowe was found to be wearing the tracksuit when he was arrested days later, awaiting a flight to Dubai.
The watch was on the wrist of Ras Robinson, 37, who was charged with handling stolen goods.
After leaving the hotel, the footballer received a message from Wood’s phone, stating that he had been in the “wrong place at the wrong time” and telling him to contact a number.
“I don’t really want to expose you to the media but if you don’t respond within 24 hours then you leave me no choice,” it said.
When asked about the message, the footballer told jurors: “Obviously it is blackmail.
“That’s what they wanted to do – to get footage of me and take it to the papers.”
Wood, who has admitted conspiracy to blackmail, said she took part in the plot after discovering that the footballer had a partner.
“I had previously asked him if he did have a partner and he would always shrug it off and say why was I asking if he was single,” she said.
“I wanted his girlfriend to know that he had been cheating because it is not fair, it’s not right.”
She claimed the plan was for the footballer to be filmed in bed with her, then confronted by Rowe and Coleman, who would ask him for money.
“He was kissing me, he started to take his boxers down,” Wood told the court.
“The key in the door went and Prince and Nathan came in the room.”
She said it did not go to plan as the footballer “jumped out of the window” before Rowe and Coleman could speak to him.
Nathan Coleman, of Sussex, denies conspiracy to blackmail and two counts of thefts relating to the Rolex watch and designer tracksuit.
His brother Tyrone Coleman, of Birmingham, denies conspiracy to blackmail.
Prince Rowe, of Birmingham, denies conspiracy to blackmail and two counts of theft.
Ras Robinson denies a charge of handling stolen goods relating to the watch.
The trial will continue on Monday.