British workers jailed for taking photos of body of dead soccer player

Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala was killed in a plane crash in January. (AFP)
Updated 24 September 2019

British workers jailed for taking photos of body of dead soccer player

  • After his body was recovered, Sherry Bray, 48, and Christopher Ashford, 62, accessed footage of his body in the mortuary and the images later appeared on social media

LONDON: Two workers from a British CCTV firm were jailed on Monday for accessing graphic mortuary footage, later circulated on social media, of the body of the late Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala, who was killed in a plane crash in January.

Sala, 28, was flying from his previous club Nantes in western France to Wales to join Cardiff City when the Piper Malibu aircraft disappeared over the English Channel.

After his body was recovered, Sherry Bray, 48, and Christopher Ashford, 62, accessed footage of his body in the mortuary and the images later appeared on social media.

“Sherry Bray and Christopher Ashford caused immense suffering to Mr. Sala’s family and friends with their deeply offensive actions,” said Anthony Johns of Britain’s Crime Prosecution Service.

“It is impossible to imagine why anyone would wish to record or view these sorts of images in such a flagrant breach of confidentiality and human decency. It was truly appalling and they both now face time in prison as a consequence.”

Police launched an investigation in February after officers became aware that a graphic image of the post-mortem of Sala was appearing on social media.

They raided the officers of the closed circuit TV firm which held the out-of-hours contract to monitor the mortuary and discovered that the company’s director, Bray and another member of staff, Ashford, had illegally accessed the footage.

Bray had taken photographs of the footage on her mobile phone and then sent the pictures to another person on Facebook Messenger, police said. Evidence showed Bray had also taken pictures of another body in the mortuary.

Bray, who pleaded guilty in August to three counts of computer misuse and perverting the course of justice, was jailed for 14 months at Swindon Crown Court.

Ashford, who admitted three counts of computer misuse, was sentenced to five months in prison.


Qatar’s BeIN chairman, two others indicted in bribery case

Updated 20 February 2020

Qatar’s BeIN chairman, two others indicted in bribery case

  • Former FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke charged with accepting bribes, among others
  • Al-Khelaifi charged with inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement

GENEVA: Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi was charged Thursday by Swiss federal prosecutors in connection with a wider bribery investigation linked to World Cup television rights.

The office of Switzerland’s attorney general filed an indictment charging Al-Khelaifi with inciting former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke “to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement.”

The Qatari football and television executive, however, no longer faces an accusation of bribery. Following a three-year investigation, FIFA reached an “amicable agreement” with Al-Khelaifi last month, prosecutors said, to drop its criminal complaint relating to the awarding of 2026 and 2030 World Cup rights to Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sports.

Al-Khelaifi is the head of Doha-based BeIN Sports and also a member of the UEFA executive committee.

Al-Khelaifi was indicted for his alleged part in providing Valcke — who had influence over the awarding of World Cup rights until being removed from office in 2015 — with use of a luxury villa in Sardinia without paying rent valued at up to €1.8 million ($1.94 million).

Valcke was charged with accepting bribes, “several counts of aggravated criminal mismanagement … and falsification of documents.”

For the first time in the five-year investigation of FIFA business, Swiss prosecutors revealed that they believe Valcke received kickbacks totaling €1.25 million to steer World Cup rights toward favored broadcasters in Italy and Greece.

A third person who was not identified was charged with bribery over those payments and also for inciting Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement.

Al-Khelaifi was appointed to the UEFA executive committee, representing European football clubs, one year ago despite being implicated in the bribery case. He is also an influential board member of the European Club Association, which is seeking to drive reforms in the Champions League to favor elite clubs such as French champion PSG.

He denied wrongdoing after being questioned in 2017 and 2019 in connection with criminal proceedings opened three years ago.

Al-Khelaifi has also been implicated in a separate corruption investigation by French prosecutors that is linked to Qatar seeking hosting rights for the track and field world championships. Doha hosted the 2019 edition.