Steven Gerrard
Steven Gerrard has been accused of starting a brawl that led to an alleged plot to blackmail the Liverpool captain Getty

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard threw the first punch in a mass brawl outside a bar near the midfielder's Formby home, a court has been told.

The claim was made by Paul Lloyd, a businessman and old neighbour of the former England captain, who told Preston Crown Court that Gerrard and his friends punched and kicked him for four minutes after a fight broke out.

"It showed me on my own getting assaulted by 12 people, with Steven Gerrard being the aggressor and throwing the first punch," he said.

"All his friends thought it was right to kick and punch me for four minutes."

Lloyd, who was later found in possession of CCTV of the incident, was giving evidence at the trial of Merseyside police officer Helen Jones, a former PCSO in Cheshire, who is charged with using her warrant card to obtain a copy of the footage and faces jail for misconduct, reported the Liverpool Daily Echo.

She is accused of acting on behalf of others in an attempt to blackmail midfielder Gerrard but claims she did not think the disc would be used for criminal intentions.

Jones was suspended from the force and then resigned in December last year. She originally denied taking the DVD but later admitted stealing it to help someone who claimed to have been a victim of the assault.

Lloyd was arrested last year on suspicion of blackmail but was released without charge. He later launched a civil claim against Gerrard, his wife Alex and Gerrard's friend Lee McPartland over the assault allegations. The writ, however, was never served.

Prosecuting, Richard Haworth said Gerrard has in fact acted as a peacemaker during the altercation and that Lloyd, who claimed he had received deaths threats in the wake of the fight and has been forced to move from the plush neighbourhood, had been plotting ways to get hold of the DVD.

Merseyside Police launched an investigation into a suspected blackmail after Gerrard's solicitors became aware The Sun newspaper had been provided with a copy of the footage.

The trial continues.