Sun journalist's warning alerted Tamara Ecclestone to blackmail plot

A newspaper reporter warned socialite and model Tamara Ecclestone that an ex-fiance and his friend from Birmingham was trying to sell a story about her, a court has heard.

Alex West, a Sun journalist, met Ms Ecclestone, daughter of Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, at a charity fundraiser a day after discussing the possible deal with Jakir Uddin, 20.
 
Uddin, a media studies student, was representing Derek Rose, 33, who went out with Ecclestone in 2002 when she was 17, Southwark Crown Court heard. Mr West said The Sun received a call from Uddin on November 13, 2011 alerting them to the possible kiss-and-tell story.
 
The journalist met Uddin at London's Cumberland Hotel that day where Uddin played a video of Rose, who used to be called Jonathan Ketterman, talking about his relationship with the celebrity. No deal was struck as the journalist needed to speak with Rose directly but a confidentiality agreement was signed.
 
West said: "The impression I got was he wanted a lot of money for his story though I don't remember him saying that."
 
By coincidence, the next day West met Ecclestone at a do for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital.
 
He told her of Uddin and Rose's alleged plan to sell a story about her. Two days later on November 16 Rose and Uddin sent an email to Ms Ecclestone's manager blackmailing her, the crown allege.
 
After the couple split in August 2002, Rose made £10,000 by selling a story about Ecclestone to the Mail on Sunday, the court has heard.
 
In December 2011, news of a blackmail plot against Ms Ecclestone emerged in the national press. Uddin worried and wanted to go to the police to explain, he said, but Rose told him not to.
 
He told police: "I genuinely got scared and thought, 'I am going to the police and tell them if an email's been sent I sent it but I didn't mean it to be blackmail', but he was like, 'just let it go as it is'."
 
Rose, of Arlington Road, Camden, London, and Uddin, of Old Walsall Road, Birmingham, both deny blackmail. The trial was adjourned until 10am on Wednesday.

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