English Premiership

French woman gets suspended sentence for blackmail of Man United's Martial

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Anthony Martial (Getty Images)
Anthony Martial (Getty Images)

A French court on Friday handed a woman an eight-month suspended sentence for attempting to blackmail Manchester United attacker Anthony Martial after the pair struck up a relationship online.

A judicial source said judges had imposed a harsher penalty than the six-month suspended sentence that prosecutors had asked for.

The woman must also pay a symbolic euro in damages to the French national footballer.

Prosecutor Francois Perain told AFP that as well as Martial, the woman had attempted to blackmail others, including one member of the French national basketball team who paid out what the woman asked for.

Martial filed a complaint in July 2019 against the woman, who presented herself on her Instagram account as a model travelling the world.

In fact, the 30-year-old was living on unemployment benefit near the eastern French city of Nancy.

She said the pair swapped messages and especially intimate videos between 2018 and 2019.

But the woman threatened to publish the images when Martial tried to end the virtual romance by text message.

"I have a lot of compromising photos. Either you pay or I'll hand everything over to the press," she was accused of writing to him.

The woman's defence lawyer complained at the October hearing that the screen capture shown by Martial as evidence of the blackmail attempt did not include details of who sent it or when, regional newspaper L'Est Republicain reported.

On top of the blackmail charge, prosecutor Perain also argued the woman had defrauded the unemployment office.

The court ordered the confiscation of a large number of luxury items seized at the woman's home, including handbags from major brands and a car, he said.

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