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  1. ITV Report

Wiltshire pair jailed over footballer Emiliano Sala mortuary photograph

Sherry Bray and Christopher Ashford accessed footage of the procedure being conducted on Sala. Credit: PA

A CCTV company director and her employee, both from Wiltshire, have been jailed for illegally accessing footage of Emiliano Sala's body in the mortuary.

The footballer died when the plane he was travelling in crashed into the English Channel in January this year.

After the 28-year-old's body was recovered, a post-mortem examination took place at Bournemouth Borough Mortuary.

Sherry Bray and her employee Christopher Ashford accessed footage of the procedure, replaying the clips and even sharing them in a message on social media.

Emiliano Sala died when the plane he was on crashed into the English Channel. Credit: PA

49-year-old Bray, the director of Camera Security Services Limited in Chippenham, sent a message to night worker Ashford before his shift, which said: "There's a nice one on the table for you to watch when you're next in."

Swindon Crown Court heard how Bray took a picture of the footage and sent it to her daughter on Facebook Messenger, leading to it being widely shared on social media.

After realising that police were investigating, Bray deleted the file from her phone and asked Ashford, 62, to do the same.

The body of missing pilot David Ibbotson has never been found. Credit: AAIB/PA

Evidence from Bray's phone also revealed that she had taken a picture of another body in the mortuary, a man called Andrew Latchem who had died in non-suspicious circumstances.

Bray, of Corsham, and Ashford, of Calne, each admitted three counts of computer misuse at Swindon Crown Court in August.

Bray also admitted perverting the course of justice by instructing Ashford to "delete your pics" - deleting the post-mortem cameras from the live feed camera facility and deleting the mortuary image of Mr Sala from her phone.

Emiliano Sala's family flew to Guernsey after the plane went missing to follow the search efforts.. Credit: ITV News

A victim impact statement from Romina Sala, the footballer's sister, called Bray and Ashford's actions "wicked and evil".

Defending Bray, Nicholas Cotter said: "She fully accepts the distress and upset she's caused. She does not walk away from that for one second.

"It was never her intention for these photos to be put in the public sphere. She did not intend to cause harm in this case.

"She should have known better. But she looked in Pandora's box."

Tributes poured in for the footballer from across the footballing world and beyond. Credit: PA

Thomas Horder, defending Ashford, said the grandfather of four described his his actions as the "biggest mistake he has ever made".

He added: "Not only is he deeply sorry and remorseful, but someone who is devastated and ashamed of his actions."

Judge Peter Crabtree jailed Bray for 14 months and Ashford for five months.

He told them: "You were both driven by morbid curiosity. You have both abused your positions in quite an appalling way."

The Crown Prosecution Service described the actions of Bray and Ashford as "truly appalling".