Corrupt Essex bowler Mervyn Westfield, from Rainham, jailed

A former Essex cricketer from Rainham, who became the first county player in England to be prosecuted for spot-fixing, was sentenced to four months in prison at the Old Bailey.

Mervyn Westfield, 23, was jailed for one count of accepting or obtaining a corrupt payment to bowl in a way that would allow the scoring of runs, on Friday of last week (February 17).

He will serve half the term in prison and a confiscation order was made for �6,000.

He was paid �6,000 to bowl so that a specific number of runs would be chalked up in the first over of a match between Durham and Essex in September 2009.

It was claimed that Westfield, of Martin Drive, was “targeted” by former Essex team mate and Pakistan international Danish Kaneria, who set up the deal.

Passing sentence, Judge Anthony Morris told Westfield: “I am satisfied that you would have known from the outset that what was being offered was a corrupt payment and that you could and should have refused it.

“I am also satisfied that, if you had any concerns about the approaches being made to you, you had an opportunity to mention them to the team captain or management, or if you were nervous of doing so, at least to your friends within the team. You chose not to do so.”

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The payment came to light when another Essex player, Tony Palladino, went to Westfield’s Chelmsford flat in September 2009, where the bowler showed him “the most money he had ever seen”.

Fast bowler Westfield pleaded guilty last month to one count of accepting or obtaining a corrupt payment to bowl in a way that would allow the scoring of runs.

He has received an interim suspension order from the England and Wales Cricket Board.

Kaneria, who first joined Essex in 2005, was arrested in connection with the case but later released without charge.

Essex Police said there were no plans to interview Kaneria again although the investigation would remain under review.

Detective Sergeant Paul Lopez said it was now a matter for the cricketing authorities to deal with.

A spokesman for Essex Cricket Club said: “This is a very sad day for all at the club. It is going to take a while for us to fully digest the comments of the judge but, as the ECB Cricket Discipline Committee has served Mervyn Westfield with an interim suspension as a result of his sentencing earlier today, the club is unable to comment on any aspect of this case.”