A man who burst into a hotel room to film a Premier League footballer in bed with someone who was not his partner has been jailed for 16 months.
Prince Rowe planned to gather incriminating footage of the sportsman with accomplice Natalie Wood and sell it to the press.
The footballer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, fled the hotel in his underwear and hid in a nearby restaurant.
Bristol Crown Court heard Rowe then made a “spur of the moment” decision to steal the footballer’s Rolex watch worth £23,000 and £1,000 tracksuit.
The 38-year-old was wearing the tracksuit when he was arrested while trying to fly to Dubai days later, while the watch was discovered at a friend’s home.
Judge Martin Picton said the thefts were part of a “honeypot set-up”.
"They wanted to gain footage of the footballer in a compromising position and sell it to the papers,” he said.
The jury heard Wood had met the footballer twice after he contacted her on social media, and she decided to expose his cheating after discovering he was in a relationship.
She hatched a plan with Rowe, former Take Me Out contestant Tyrone Coleman and his brother Nathan to film the footballer.
The Coleman brothers and Rowe said they planned to sell a “kiss and tell” story to a tabloid newspaper, and had no intention to demand money from the footballer for his silence.
All three were acquitted of conspiracy to blackmail following a three-week trial. Wood has admitted to blackmail and will be sentenced at a later date.
During the trial Rowe said he used a key card supplied by Wood to enter the hotel room, but became “starstruck” after he saw the well-known sports star with “his ding-a-ling out”.
“She was lying on the bed. He was sitting there with his thing out. She jumped off the bed in panic. Before I knew it, I saw him dive out of the window,” he said.
The judge said Rowe made “determined and purposeful” efforts to make money from the stolen watch.
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