Man accused of blackmailing footballer was ‘star-struck’, court told

A man accused of blackmailing a Premier League footballer told police he was "star-struck" when he walked in on the player in bed with a woman who was not his partner.

Prince Rowe, 37, allegedly burst into a hotel room with Nathan Coleman, 38, to capture incriminating footage of the footballer with Natalie Wood, 28.

The player, who cannot be named for legal reasons, jumped out of the window wearing only his underwear after the two men entered the room.

Blackmail trial
Natalie Wood has admitted being part of a plot to blackmail the professional footballer (Jacob King/PA)

He had previously met Wood, who has admitted conspiring to blackmail him, on two occasions after contacting her on social media.

Rowe, from Birmingham, said he agreed to go to the hotel after his friend Tyrone Coleman – a former contestant on ITV's Take Me Out – discovered Wood had been contacting the footballer.

"He said to me that his girl had some form of contact with the player – they had met on several occasions previously," Rowe told police after his arrest.

"He was a bit upset – he was looking to progress the relationship. He wanted to go and catch them in the act."

Rowe said he went to the hotel with the Coleman brothers, with Tyrone Coleman, 34, waiting outside while he went up to the room with Nathan Coleman.

He told officers Tyrone Coleman believed Wood was "playing away" with the footballer and did not want to see the pair in bed together.

"I just wanted to see if it was that person – the footballer," Rowe told police.

"I was a bit star-struck by the situation. I don't know how we got into the room.

"She was lying on the bed. He was sitting there with his thing out. She jumped off the bed in panic.

"Before I knew it, I saw him dive out of the window."

When asked to described what the pair were wearing, Rowe said he was not sure about Wood but believed she was in her underwear.

He described how the footballer was naked but grabbed his boxers from the side of the bed and pulled them on after he and Nathan Coleman entered the room.

"I didn't know what he was jumping to – I'm just panicking thinking 'I'd better try and save him'," Rowe said.

"I was actually star-struck for a bit because I play football, I've met footballers but to actually be in that situation with him...

"I was thinking 'it's (the footballer) with his ding-a-ling out'."

The jury of nine women and three men at Bristol Crown Court has been told the footballer jumped out of the hotel room wearing only his underwear and took shelter in a nearby restaurant for police to arrive.

Rowe said he was a bodybuilder who owned a vape shop in Birmingham and did not "need to be involved in anything like this".

"I was just interested that I was going to see the footballer," he told officers.

"That's all it was for me. I just feel really upset with the whole situation."

He denied taking either the footballer's Rolex watch or designer tracksuit, which he was wearing when arrested days after the hotel room incident.

Rowe insisted the tracksuit, which still had tags on, was handed to him by Wood who told him she had purchased it for the footballer.

Tyrone Coleman told police Wood was not his girlfriend at the time but they had been "seeing each other" after meeting on social media.

He said Wood revealed she previously met the footballer and had sent him videos and pictures, which he had asked for.

"I didn't believe her at first," Tyrone Coleman told police.

"She said 'he's a nice guy, it's crazy how footballers live, he has a nice car'.

"She said she could have sold her story."

Crown court stock
The trial is taking place at Bristol Crown Court (Ben Birchall/PA)

Tyrone Coleman said Wood had since discovered the player had a partner, which she had not known when they previously had sexual contact.

He told officers that a plan developed for Wood, of Cleethorpes, to be filmed with the footballer in a hotel room.

After the sportsman jumped out of the window, Rowe and Nathan Coleman left the hotel and met Tyrone Coleman outside, with Wood following a short time later.

"I knew something wasn't right," Tyrone Coleman said.

"When Natalie got into the car, she looked like she had seen a ghost. I couldn't believe he jumped out of the window.

"We weren't going to physically harm him but he jumped out the window."

He said he was shown footage of the footballer wearing only his underwear, which left him "shocked and surprised".

The player later sent Wood an emoji of a crying with laughter face, which made them think he believed it was a "joke".

Later that evening, Wood's phone sent the footballer a message stating 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.

Tyrone Coleman insisted after seeing that message, he told Wood she needed to text or call the footballer and tell him to "ignore that text".

"That text had already been sent when I was at work," he told police.

"My initial reaction was this was not good."

Tyrone Coleman, of Birmingham, said both he and Wood were arrested before they had a "chance to rectify it".

He denies conspiracy to blackmail.

His brother Nathan Coleman, of Sussex, denies conspiracy to blackmail and two counts of theft relating to the Rolex watch and designer tracksuit.

Prince Rowe denies conspiracy to blackmail and two counts of theft.

Ras Robinson denies a charge of handling stolen goods, relating to the Rolex watch.

The trial continues.

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