Imogen Thomas, the model fighting to name the married footballer with whom she had an affair, may have attempted to blackmail him a judge has revealed.
Mr Justice Eady wrote in his eight-page judgement that he granted the controversial superinjunction partly because there was “ample reason not to trust” Thomas.
Evidence put before the court on 14 April “appeared strongly to suggest that the claimant [the unnamed footballer] was being blackmailed”, he said, first for £50,000 and then £100,000, plus a signed shirt and match tickets.
Thomas, 28, was in court attempting to have the superinjunction lifted so that she could sell her story, and denies any allegations of blackmail. Lawyers for the Sun were also there protesting the “death of tabloid kiss and tell stories”.
The paper is arguing that Thomas’s right to freedom of expression, covered by article 10 of the European convention on human rights, outweighed the footballer’s right to privacy under article 8.
The newspaper became further embroiled in the controversy as its columnist Kelvin MacKenzie was linked to breaching the injuction. The footballer’s name has been bandied about the internet, especially via an anonymous Twitter account.
The footballer’s lawyers told the court that the emails and text messages of MacKenzie and other Sun employees should be disclosed because of something he said on a BBC radio programme.
Lawyers for the Sun laughed off the application as “unnecessary”, “unprecedented”, “disproportionate” and a “fishing expedition”, but the judge has reserved judgement on the application.