Danny Cipriani was blackmailed by a stripper who aborted his baby
Lisa Murphy, 39, had an abortion after a fling with the 29-year-old Wasps fly-half and then inundated him with messages demanding support. She was helped by fellow exotic dancer Violet Smith, 29.
The pair – who admit blackmail and await sentence – threatened to expose Cipriani in a tabloid newspaper if he did not pay up. A total of £15,000 was demanded from Cipriani’s publicist.
Wendy Hewitt, prosecuting, told Kingston Crown Court in southwest London that Cipriani and Murphy had struck up a casual relationship after conversing on social media.
Lisa Murphy had an abortion after a fling with the rugby player then demanded support
Ms Hewitt said: “They met on a couple of occasion where they had sexual relations.
“They didn’t want a committed relationship.
“It’s clear from all the messages there was a certain degree of affection between them.
“They texted or spoke to each other really frequently.” Ms Hewitt said Murphy discovered she was pregnant and told Cipriani via WhatsApp.
Cipriani, who thought Murphy worked as a promoter, responded: “Hey baby, that’s a shock to me too.”
She was helped by fellow exotic dancer Violet Smith
Ms Hewitt said: “She said he did not have to worry and she wanted him to know she was not going to keep the baby. “He’s not in a position to keep the baby, either. He repeatedly offers her his support.
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“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.”
The pair continued to converse and spoke of Cipriani’s failure to be selected for the England squad. But after terminating the baby, Murphy suffered health complications and was unable to work at a “gentleman’s club”, Junction 9 near the M1 in Hertfordshire.
The two threatened to expose Cirpriani in a tabloid newspaper if he did not pay up
Ms Hewitt said: “Things started to sour in the middle of September 2015. Murphy was struggling financially.”
She told Cipriani she earned £1,000 a week but had spent five weeks off work.
She texted him, saying: “I didn’t want to ask because I’m so independent. Is there any way you can help me because I’m selfemployed and not getting paid?”
Ms Hewitt said: “Mr Cipriani seems to have a change of heart at this stage.”
When Murphy asked him: “Are you going funny with me?”
Cipriani replied: “Not being funny, I didn’t expect you to ask me to pay your salary, that’s quite different.”
Murphy continued to message, asking for money, often without reply.
Murphy and Smith admitted blackmail and await sentencing
Ms Hewitt said: “She’s upset and text messages repeatedly refer to the procedure she has undergone.
“On a number of occasions, they refer to losing the child.”
In October 2015, Murphy recruited her friend Smith who also worked at Junction 9, near St Albans. Smith began to message Cipriani using Murphy’s phone to accuse him of shirking his duty.
She said: “My name is Violet Smith and I’m a friend of Lisa’s.
“She’s just been taken to hospital because the abortion of your baby she had has caused her life threatening problems. I just thought you would like to know Mr Cipriani.”
A total of £15,000 was demanded from Cipriani’s publicist
Early that month, Murphy demanded £1,500 to cover the costs of the abortion and also asked for the number of Cipriani’s publicist to negotiate a deal.
The women began to negotiate with the publicist for more money, while also contacting a tabloid newspaper to sell the story.
Murphy believed she could get the newspaper to pay £12,000 for the story, while Smith was trying to get more than £15,000 from Cipriani’s publicist.
The pair also discussed getting more money because of a cancer scare which led to Murphy undergoing chemotherapy. When the pair continued to ask for more money, Cipriani – whose rugby career has been blighted by controversies on and off the field – contacted his agent, who alerted the police.
Smith, of Slough, and Murphy, of Wootton, Northamptonshire, admitted blackmail at the outset of the trial.
Judge Peter Lodder, QC, will sentence the two women tomorrow.