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Security guards behind Emiliano Sala's viral post-mortem convicted in England

Tuesday, September 24th 2019 - 00:45 UTC
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Sala had been transferred to Cardiff for a  record 17 million euros. Sala had been transferred to Cardiff for a record 17 million euros.
The single-engine Piper Malibu aircraft carrying Sala and pilot David Ibbotson crashed near Guernsey on Jan. 21 The single-engine Piper Malibu aircraft carrying Sala and pilot David Ibbotson crashed near Guernsey on Jan. 21

A Swindon Crown Court on Monday handed down jail sentences to two workers of a security company who illegally accessed footage of the autopsy of Argentine footballer Emiliano Sala, leading to its online mass distribution.

 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.

Bray and Ashford were arrested after Wiltshire police began an investigation following the appearance of a photograph of Sala's body on social media.

Forensic pathologist Doctor Basil Purdue said it had been a “flagrant breach of medical confidentiality.”

The defendants each admitted three counts of computer misuse at the court in August. Bray also pled guilty 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” as he spoke of the defendants' “morbid curiosity.”

Authorities found two images of Sala's body on Bray's cell phone, who captured the photos on the CCTV morgue screen.

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.

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 said. “I'll never erase those images from my head. My brother and mother can never forget about this,” she added.

However, the judge said there was no suggestion that Bray and Ashford had taken or published the image of Sala's body that went viral on social media.

The 28-year-old Sala, who had played for French club Nantes, was traveling to join his new team, Cardiff, a Welsh team competing in the English Premier League, which had agreed with Nantes the transfer of the player in exchange for a record 17 million euros.

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