2 jailed over CCTV footage of soccer star Sala's autopsy
In this Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2019, file photo, a Nantes soccer team supporters stops by a poster of Argentinian player Emiliano Sala outside La Beaujoire stadium in Nantes, western France. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, File)
The Associated Press
Published Monday, September 23, 2019 1:03PM EDT
SWINDON, England -- Two people who worked for a security company have been jailed for illegally accessing footage of the autopsy of Argentine soccer player Emiliano Sala, leading to it being circulated online.
Swindon Crown Court on Monday sentenced Sherry Bray, the director of Wiltshire-based Camera Security Services Limited, and her employee, Christopher Ashford, to 14 months and five months in prison, respectively.
Prosecutors said Bray accessed the closed-circuit television camera footage from a mortuary in Bournemouth a day after Sala's body was recovered on Feb. 6. He had been missing since the single-engine Piper Malibu aircraft carrying him and pilot David Ibbotson crashed near the Channel Island of Guernsey on Jan. 21.
The 28-year-old Sala, who had played for French club Nantes, was travelling to join his new team, Cardiff, in Wales.
Bray allegedly sent a message to Ashford before his night shift, saying: "There's a nice one on the table for you to watch when you're next in."
Both Bray and Ashford replayed the clip of Sala's autopsy during separate shifts before Bray took a picture of it on her mobile phone and sent it to her daughter on Facebook Messenger, leading to it being widely shared on social media, prosecutors said.
Bray was also accused of taking a picture of another body in the mortuary, of a man who had died in non-suspicious circumstances.
Forensic pathologist Doctor Basil Purdue said it had been a "flagrant breach of medical confidentiality."
Sala's sister, Romina Sala, said in a statement that she had found out about the leak when she saw pictures of her brother's body on Instagram.
"I cannot believe there are people so wicked and evil who could do that," Romina Sala's statement said. "I'll never erase those images from my head. My brother and mother can never forget about this."
The defendants each admitted three counts of computer misuse at the court in August. Bray also admitted to obstructing justice by deleting the photos from her phone and instructing Ashford to do the same.
Judge Peter Crabtree told Bray and Ashford: "You have both abused your positions in quite an appalling way."