FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football – Ligue 1 – FC Nantes v Nimes Olympique – The Stade de la Beaujoire – Louis Fonteneau, Nantes, France – February 10, 2019 General view of a tribute inside the stadium in memory of Emiliano Sala REUTERS/Stephane Mahe
LONDON (Reuters) – Two workers from a British CCTV firm pleaded guilty on Friday to 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.
The wreckage was finally located following a privately funded search and his body was recovered three days later.
Police launched an investigation in February after officers became aware that a graphic image showing 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, Sherry Bray and another member of staff Christopher 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.
“It has been the two families who have been at the forefront of our minds throughout the investigation; they have been significantly impacted at what was already a difficult and traumatic time for them,” said Detective Inspector Gemma Vinton.
“The actions of Bray and Ashford caused additional unnecessary distress and heartache.”
Bray, 48, pleaded guilty at Swindon Crown Court to three counts of computer misuse and perverting the course of justice and Ashford, 62, admitted three counts of computer misuse. They are due to be sentenced on Sept. 20.
Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Stephen Addison