A BRAZILIAN cleaner who became involved in a love triangle with two judges blackmailed one of them after stealing home videos of him having sex with two women, a jury heard yesterday.
She also tried to extort thousands of pounds from the other judge, a woman, by threatening to tell Lord Falconer of Thoroton, the Lord Chancellor, that she had worked at her home illegally for nearly five years, it was claimed.
David Markham, for the prosecution, told the Old Bailey that the 37-year-old defendant had threatened to expose the complex private lives of the judges, who had once lived together as lovers. She tried to get ?20,000 from the female judge and a rent-free home from the male judge after having a sexual relationship with him, it was claimed.
At the start of the trial Judge Peter Beaumont, the Recorder of London, imposed an order banning the identification of both the judges and the defendant; the female judge was named only as J and the man was called I.
The cleaner, who arrived in Britain in 1998, began cleaning Miss J?s home in October 1999, working three hours twice a week, although she did not have a work permit. She later began to work at Judge I?s home. Both judges had remained close friends after their sexual relationship ended.
In 2004, Miss J sacked the Brazilian after becoming unhappy with her work, Mr Markham said. The cleaner then began a sexual relationship with Mr I and moved in with him.
Mr Markham said that the ?emotional triangle? culminated at Christmas 2004 with Miss J discovering the pair in bed at his home.
Mr I told Miss J that he would end his relationship with the Brazilian, but instead the relationship escalated, Mr Markham claimed.
?The defendant had reason to dislike Miss J, who had dismissed her from her job and in her eyes had been responsible for the attempted break-up of her relationship with Mr I,? Mr Markham said. ?This is the tangled background against which the defendant first decided to extort money from Miss J with menaces and then make demands from Mr I.?
The court heard that the cleaner wrote to Miss J saying that she had contacted Lord Falconer to say that she had worked as Miss J?s cleaner despite not having a work permit. Judge J admitted that she had paid the cleaner between ?5 and ?7 per hour in cash.
The cleaner said that she would drop her case if she received ?20,000. She also threatened to go to the press, said Mr Markham. ?By the middle of 2005 the situation between Mr I and the defendant was emotionally messy,? he said. The defendant remained at Mr I?s home as an unwanted, rent-free guest, he added.
After a trip abroad, Mr I returned home to discover that the cleaner had stolen two video cassettes.
?The cassettes showed Mr I in sexual activity with one or more women,? Mr Markham said. ?He wanted the tapes back but she said she would pass the tapes to his employers.?
Mr Markham emphasised that neither judge had had any involvement in the Brazilian?s immigration application. Both judges also deny being aware that the woman did not have a work permit. Giving evidence, Miss J said: ?It?s been fairly shattering because I believed the threats she made, particularly writing to the Lord Chancellor?s Department. The possibility of publicity made me feel ill.?
Miss J said that she thought that the cleaner was motivated by ?pure viciousness?.
Asked by Frances Oldham, QC, for the defence, whether she had flown into a jealous rage after discovering that Mr I had become her cleaner?s new sexual partner, she replied: ?Certainly not.?
Miss J denied ever being filmed taking cocaine or having sex. She also rejected the suggestion that she had called the cleaner a ?bitch and Brazilian whore?.
She admitted that after breaking up with Mr I she began a relationship with a senior judge, a married father no longer living with his wife.
The cleaner denies blackmailing Miss J with menaces and blackmailing Mr I so that she could stay at his home and get ?20,000 from Miss J between January and October 2005. She also denies stealing two videos belonging to Mr I between January and October 2005.
The case continues.