Coleen Rooney's blackmailers have been jailed for their attempts to force the footballer's wife to hand over £5,000 for the return for her stolen camera. Lee Platt, 29 was jailed for two years and Steven Malcolm for 20 months for the offence. The judge overseeing the trial, which took place at Manchester's Crown Court, called the offence "vile and despicable" according to a story from BBC News yesterday (January 30, 2012). Lee Platt's girlfriend Jennifer Green was also served with a 12-month community order and is required to undertake 40 hours of unpaid work, after she admitted to assisting the retention of the stolen goods.
Platt and Malcolm had in their possession the memory card from Coleen Rooney's camera, which was stolen at a Black Eyed Peas concert in May 2010. The memory card contained photos of Coleen with her husband, the Manchester United footballer Wayne Rooney, as well as their son Kai. The blackmailers originally tried to extract £1,000 from Wayne's agent Paul Stretford but were unsuccessful. They then increased their demands to £5,000 and contacted Coleen, as well as approaching Hello! magazine and the Daily Star.
Police mounted a sting operation, which eventually led to the pair's arrest. Both Lee Platt and Steven Malcolm had previous convictions of theft, amongst other crimes. At the time that the offence occurred, Lee Platt was already on bail for handling stolen goods. Coleen Rooney was required to provide a victim statement, in which she stated that "the family pictures were of no relevance to anyone else other than her and her family."