Natalie Wood, 28, had previously met the high-profile player twice after he contacted her on social media, and decided to expose him after discovering he was in a relationship
Three men have been acquitted of conspiring to blackmail a
Natalie Wood, 28, had previously met the high-profile player twice after he contacted her on social media, and decided to expose him after discovering he was in a relationship.
Bristol Crown Court heard that a plan was hatched between Wood, former Take Me Out contestant Tyrone Coleman, his brother Nathan and friend Prince Rowe, to film her with the footballer.
The Coleman brothers and Rowe insisted this was to sell a ‘kiss and tell’ story to a tabloid newspaper.
Last year, Nathan Coleman and Rowe burst in on Wood and the footballer as they were in a hotel room bed – using a phone to film as he fled by jumping from the window in his underwear.
He ran down a fire escape and took shelter in a nearby restaurant to wait for police, who launched an investigation.
The player, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, later received a message from Wood threatening to expose him to the media if he did not respond within 24 hours.
The Coleman brothers and Rowe were acquitted of conspiracy to blackmail following a three-week trial.
Rowe was convicted of two counts of theft, relating to a designer tracksuit and Rolex watch the footballer left in the hotel room.
Ras Robinson, 37, was acquitted of handling stolen goods.
Judge Martin Picton said Wood – who previously admitted blackmail – and Rowe would be sentenced on November 4.
During the trial, jurors heard how Wood first met the footballer after he messaged her on social media.
Defendants Tyrone Coleman and Prince Rowe outside Bristol Crown Court during the trial
She later began ‘seeing’ Tyrone Coleman, from Birmingham, after he appeared on ITV’s Take Me Out last year.
He told jurors that Wood had discovered the player had a girlfriend.
‘She said she would like to sell her story to the newspapers and the media,’ he said. ‘She wanted to expose him as a love rat.’
Wood and Tyrone Coleman met Rowe at The Yenton pub in Birmingham last year, where they discussed how to sell the story.
This would involve Wood being filmed in bed with the footballer, then contacting newspapers.
‘He would be in a sexual position with Natalie,’ Tyrone Coleman said. ‘I expected it to make good money because it is a kiss and tell story.’
Wood contacted the footballer and they arranged to meet for a third time in a hotel room.
She provided a room key to Rowe and Nathan Coleman and sent them a message confirming she was inside with the player.
Rowe later told the jury: ‘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.’
Rowe said he was ‘panicking’ when the footballer jumped out of the window and attempted to grab on to him to ‘save him’.
‘I was actually starstruck for a bit because I play football, I’ve met footballers, but to actually be in that situation with him…,’ Rowe told the jury.
‘I was thinking ‘it’s (the footballer) with his ding-a-ling out’.’
Nathan Coleman outside Bristol Crown Court. Like the other two defendants he was acquitted of blackmail
That evening, Wood’s phone sent a message to the footballer saying: ‘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.’
Appearing by video link, the sportsman said he had been a left ‘a bit panicky’ and had told his partner about his contact with Wood.
He said the defendants wanted ‘to get footage of me and take it to the papers’.
Nathan Coleman, of Sussex, and Tyrone Coleman were acquitted of blackmail.
Nathan Coleman was also acquitted of three charges of theft, relating to the footballer’s tracksuit, watch and wallet.
Rowe, of Birmingham, was acquitted of blackmail and one count of theft relating to the wallet.
He was convicted of two counts of theft in relation to the player’s tracksuit and £24,000 Rolex.
Robinson, of Birmingham, was acquitted of handling stolen goods, relating to the watch.
Wood, of Cleethorpes, previously admitted conspiracy to blackmail and will be sentenced with Rowe on November 11.