A policewoman has been tossed in jail for 22 months for attempting to bribe LA Galaxy icon Steven Gerrard. Helen Jones, formerly of the Merseyside Police, was found guilty of abusing the power of her position to illegally obtain CCTV footage to extort the midfielder. The video shows Gerrard — an often overlooked selection to annual All Bar Fight XI — and friends engaged in a physical confrontation outside of a watering hole near his home in August 2013.
The fight must have been pretty good, as it’s reported to have started inside the bar and spilled out into the streets. Gerrard’s ability to dictate the pace of play and switch fields to create space for his teammates is well known. It’s not surprising to see these traits carry over to nights out drinking. Gerrard is a consummate professional, and as such sees every moment as an opportunity to make those around him more effective.
A witness to the fight told authorities that Gerrard threw the brawl’s first punch, but at an official hearing, it was deemed that the Liverpool talisman acted as a peacemaker. Sure.
A judge ruled that Jones obtained the footage from a local bank by flashing a warrant, and used it “possibly as a lever to cause Mr. Gerrard to pay money to suppress it or, at the very least, to use it in a way which would potentially cause embarrassment, as has in fact occurred.”
Jones, admitting that she had in fact violated police rules in obtaining the camera images, insists that she did so as a favor to a friend, not an attempt to get money out of Gerrard.
Still, “possibly” seems like a pretty flimsy word to use when describing why someone will spend nearly two years in prison, but I’ve never studied British law. Maybe the burden of proof is pretty low over there.