Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Women Blackmailed Rugby Star Danny Cipriani With Tabloid Kiss-And-Tell

Fling: Lisa Murphy
A stripper and her fellow exotic dancer pal, who blackmailed former England rugby star Danny Cipriani for £15,000 after he got her pregnant, was spared jail today.

Lisa Murphy, 39, aborted Cipriani’s unborn child after their fling and then bombarded him with messages with the help of her friend Violet Smith, 29.

Murphy, of Montgomery Way, Wootton, Northampton and mum-of-three Smith, of Bath Road, Slough, both admitted blackmailing the 29-year-old Wasps fly-half between September and October in 2015.

Murphy contacted tabloid The Sun on Sunday to sell the kiss-and-tell story and demanded £15,000 from the rugby star's publicist.

She asked Cipriani to cover her £1,000 a week wages for five weeks after she suffered complications following the abortion.

She wanted compensation for loss of earnings at strip-club Junction Nine in St. Alban's, Hertfordshire.

Both woman received twenty-two months imprisonment, suspended for two years.

Judge Peter Lodder QC told Murphy at Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court: “Danny Cipriani repeatedly offered to help, but nothing was forthcoming.

“He said he would pay for the abortion.

“Danny Cipriani did not act according to his early promises.

“Whether this was his own choice or in accordance with advice from a PR agency or something else is not for me to judge.

“He certainly does not appear to have fully appreciated the extent of your difficulties.”

The court heard the pair had a brief fling and neither sought a “committed relationship.”

Judge Lodder added: “I’m satisfied by that time Lisa Murphy was feeling increasingly desperate and continued to suffer from the emotional consequences of her condition.

“I’m satisfied that Violet Smith was motivated by concern for your well being.

Phone Calls: Violet Smith
“It is against that background the threat to go to the newspapers was made.

“This is a very unusual case, both of you have suffered, you now have a criminal conviction, and each of you have lost your jobs.

“It is an understatement to say nobody comes out of this episode very well.”

Wendy Hewitt, prosecuting, said Murphy told Cipriani on WhatsApp he was the father and he replied: “Hey baby that’s a shock to me too.”

Miss Hewitt said: “She said he did not have to worry and she wanted him to know she was not going to keep the baby.

“It is Mr. Cipriani who first brings up the subject of money and asks how much it would cost on the basis he would pay for it all.

“Ms Murphy tells him as far she understands it’s all free and on the National Health Service.”

Smith, who also worked at the strip bar, texted Cipriani demanding money on her pal’s behalf and began negotiating with the star’s publicist.

He refused to pay and then went to police after finding out the women tried to sell their story.

The story was not published and the pair did not receive any money.

Hannah Duncan, for Murphy, said she had been prescribed anti-depressants after the abortion, and had been “reluctant to ask for the money”.

Rugby Star: Danny Cipriani
She said: “She had no idea that what she was doing towards the end of this case was illegal.

“She was increasingly frustrated, increasingly desperate, and increasingly upset.

“After she had the abortion his interest fell off a cliff.”

Ms Duncan added that Murphy had struggled with depression, and wasn’t “a shameless cold and calculating schemer, as some have portrayed her”.

Nigel Mitchell, defending Smith, told the court she too did not realise what she was doing was illegal, and just wanted to help her friend.

He said: “She has never met Mr. Cipriani.

“She had heard that her friend was pregnant by him, he had offered to pay towards the abortion which she accepted.

“She was told by Ms Murphy that she had not received any.

“Her intention throughout was to support her friend, there was nothing in this for her to gain.”

Mr Mitchell added: “She’s not by nature a criminal – stupid maybe.”

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