A Premier League footballer who obtained an anonymity order against a woman selling a kiss-and-tell story to The Sun should be named, a High Court judge has decided. (Stock picture: Shutterstock)
Lawyers representing the player had claimed in their application for an anonymity order and gagging injunction that the woman, reported to be a fitness instructor in her 30s, was demanding £100,000 to break a contract she had reached to sell her story to The Sun newspaper.
But barrister Jacob Dean, representing the woman, told the court that in fact it was a man – Mr X – working on the player's behalf who had offered her the money in a bid to buy her silence, and that the blackmail claim was only made after she turned it down.
Mr Justice Warby decided that the woman – who was referred to as TNO but said she wished to be named – and the player, who was referred to as YXB, should both lose the anonymity granted under the original injunction.
In addition, the woman should be free to talk of the sexual contact she had had with the player – although she could not publish photographs, or video footage of the player performing a sex act which he had sent her.
The judge refused the player permission to appeal, but allowed him 10 days within which to apply directly to the Court of Appeal.
Mr Justice Warby said YXB and the woman met at a players' Christmas party organised by his football club.
Later that evening they went to the home of Mr X, a friend of the player. It was there that the woman performed oral sex on the player.
The pair never met again – but a month later the claimant initiated an exchange of messages between the two, via their mobile phones, during which they wrote about having sex together.
YXB also sent the woman explicit images of himself, and video of himself performing a sex act.
In February, the woman signed a contract to sell her story to The Sun.
The newspaper approached the claimant's club and his representatives discovered what it planned to publish.
Refusing to renew the injunction Mr Justice Warby said that the player had failed to make full and frank disclosure, and there was "material non-disclosure" in relation to the blackmail allegation – it had become clear that the £100,00 was an offer made to the woman by Mr X, the player's friend, on his behalf, and not a demand made by her as the price of her silence.
Particularly serious was the player's failure to disclose to the court which granted the original injunction a message in which the woman had told Mr X that she wanted no further offers from him – taken at face value, that message "destroys any suggestion that there was blackmail at that time", the judge said.
The case for discharging the present injunction was compelling, said the judge, adding: "There is little to put in the scales against it."