Jail for Premier League sex video blackmailer
A goalkeeper who blackmailed a top Premier League footballer over a sex video was jailed for 20 months today.
Ex-Manchester City trainee Ashley Timms, 22, demanded £15,000 from the star, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
Timms, from Middleton, Greater Manchester, made a series of threats to publish the images if he was not paid the cash.
The sex video clip involved a woman and the footballer engaged in sex at his home.
Timms pleaded guilty last month and was jailed today at Manchester Crown Court after admitting making a series of unwarranted demands with menaces.
Passing sentence, Judge Andrew Gilbart said: 'Blackmail always calls for a custodial sentence. The abuse of your friendship for simple greed is an aggravating feature.
'This was a calculated attempt to extract money for your own benefit. It is depressing that in a society where there is supposed to be more sexual freedom, some popular newspapers and magazines continue to dress their interest in it as some form of moral indignation when what they are actually doing is making money from their readers' interest in sex and salacious gossip.'
Timms and the player, known only as witness A, had become friends over time and were part of a 'fantasy world' of fast cars, money and girls.
Such videoing of footballers involved in sex with girls had become 'commonplace' the court heard.
David Friesner, prosecuting, told the court Timms used a mobile phone to video the international footballer having sex with a 19-year-old woman at the player's home last September.
But they drifted apart as Timms' football career 'withered' because of his poor attitude.
He became excluded from the high-living world of a top footballer but 'out of the blue' contacted the Premier League player in March.
Timms wanted £15,000 to put a deposit on a house and told A he could 'buy' the sex footage and then destroy it.
Over a series of text messages, he told the player: 'I have got loads of pictures and the video of you. If you want them, make me an offer.'
The player contacted officials at his club and a meeting was called at a hotel in Manchester.
During the meeting, Timms said: 'What's it worth? I want thousands.'
Timms said football was a multimillion-pound operation and the club would not even notice any pay-off.
He also hinted he could 'lose' the phone in a taxi - and the footage might end up on YouTube if it was not destroyed.
He continued to pester the player for cash, telling him to sort it out and sending his bank account details so the money could be paid direct.
Instead police were called and Timms was arrested on April 4.
The video footage was never recovered and Timms said he destroyed it.
But a laptop computer showed Timms had done searches on Google entitled 'How to sell sex videos'.
The ordeal upset witness A's form, Mr Friesner said.
In a victim impact statement, he said: 'It has really made me feel I can't trust anyone and I feel quite insecure and if I meet anyone now, I constantly feel they're after my money.'