VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLOMBIA – Two British men were jailed Monday for trying to blackmail the wife of England soccer star Wayne Rooney.
Lee Platt, 29, and Steven Malcolm, 42, tried to sell more than 400 personal Rooney family photos to newspapers and magazines before offering them back to Coleen Rooney for £5,000 ($7,900).
They showed the Manchester United striker's wife and their young son Kai on family holidays, at their UK home and with other family members.
Both men pleaded guilty to the charge of blackmail and handling stolen goods at Manchester Crown Court. Platt's girlfriend, 26-year-old Jennifer Green, pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of handling stolen goods.
Platt, Malcolm and Green came into possession of the camera and memory card after it went missing while Coleen Rooney was watching a concert at the MEN Arena in Manchester, northwest England, in May 2010.
The men then contacted Manchester United trying to extort £1,000 from the Premier League club for the return of the memory card and photographs.
But following negative publicity about her soccer superstar husband, the trio decided to up the ante, increasing their demand to £5,000.
They then approached newspapers and magazines, hoping to sell the photographs.
The police were informed and deployed an undercover officer pretending to be Coleen and Wayne Rooney's publicity agent.
A meeting was arranged at a hotel in Manchester and an arrest was made when Malcolm handed over a file containing photos of the Rooney family.
Platt was sentenced to two years in jail, Malcolm 20 months and Green was ordered to serve a 12-month community sentence.