Northampton woman denies blackmailing Premiership rugby player

Two women denied blackmailing rugby star Danny Cipriani when they appeared at court today.

Friday, 30th September 2016, 4:39 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:33 pm
Danny Cipriani

Violet Smith, 29, of Bath Road, Slough, and Lisa Murphy, 39, of Montgomery Way, Wootton, are said to have demanded money from the 28-year-old Wasps fly-half between September and October last year.

On Friday, the pair appeared at Kingston Crown Court to deny blackmail.

Murphy, wearing a black jacket and trousers with a white shirt, and Smith, wearing a purple cardigan and black top, spoke only to confirm their names and deny the charge.

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Cipriani now looks set to give evidence against the pair when the case goes to trial.

With the pair pleading not guilty, Judge Peter Lodder QC set a trial date of February 6, 2017 at Kingston Crown Court.

He said: "You will come back to this court for trial commencing on February 6 of next year.

"You have been released on bail with the same conditions as before.

"If you breach these conditions or fail to attend, you will be committing an offence and you will be charged.

"If you don’t attend then it will go ahead in your absence and you may not be represented," he added.

In June, the rugby ace was convicted of drink-driving after getting behind the wheel having spent the night drinking cocktails and champagne.

He was found guilty of the offence following a trial at Westminster Magistrates' Court and ordered to pay a total of £7,620 in fines and costs. He was also banned from driving for 18 months.

The rugby union player claimed he was 'shocked' that the breathalyser was positive, despite admitting he had drunk two espresso martinis and a glass of champagne less than an hour earlier.

Smith, , and Murphy, Northampton, have been ordered not to contact each other or Cipriani and were bailed ahead of trial.