| Victoria Beckham
London, Nov. 3 (Reuters): Victoria Beckham, Spice Girl wife of England soccer captain David Beckham, said she was in shock today after police seized nine persons suspected of plotting to kidnap her by knocking her out with a chemical spray.
Police said armed officers had arrested the nine across London after a tip-off from the News of the World tabloid whose reporters infiltrated a gang of Romanians and Albanians.
“I’m in absolute and total shock,” Victoria told the Sunday newspaper. “It’s clear these people were serious and that, of course, has scared the life out of me.”
Victoria shot to stardom in the 1990s as Posh Spice, part of the Spice Girls band that has sold about 40 million albums worldwide. But her solo career failed to take off and these days, her soccer star husband is the one making headlines.
The News of the World said the gang had planned to demand a ransom of £5 million after seizing Victoria and, if necessary, her sons Brooklyn, three, and two-month-old Romeo some time before the year-end.
“Their plans were fairly well formed. They knew when, they knew where, they knew how,” Andy Coulson, deputy editor of the News of the World, said.
Scotland Yard said four men and one woman in London’s Docklands and in Morden, south of the capital, were arrested yesterday. Early today, a man and woman were held in Croydon, south of London. Two other men were arrested as part of a connected theft investigation.
“As a result of information from the News of the World, SO7 Kidnap Unit conducted an operation today to arrest a group of individuals who are suspected of having been involved in theft and a conspiracy to commit kidnap,” said detective chief superintendent John Coles, head of London’s anti-kidnap unit.
The nine are being questioned at London police stations.
The Sunday Times’ annual “rich list” said David Beckham earned £15.5 million over the past year, making him the 45th highest paid Briton, one place above Queen Elizabeth.
Victoria was at Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground yesterday afternoon to watch her husband and his team beat Southampton 2-1. Victoria had known of the threat but did not tell David until after the game, Sky News said.
She has been the target of a kidnap scare before. The Beckhams hired a bodyguard in 2000 after reports that the police had uncovered a plan to snatch Victoria and Brooklyn and hold them for a ransom of £1 million. No arrests were made.
Last July, a woman was detained under the Mental Health Act following allegations that she broke into the hallway of the couple’s Cheshire home, near Manchester, and stole their mail.
“We have good security. But if people want to do this to my family, how can you be 100 per cent sure you’ll prevent it'” Victoria told the News of the World.