A CCTV firm boss was said to have opened Pandora’s Box when she watched the autopsy of football ace Emiliano Sala.

Sherry Bray was accused of presiding over a culture at Chippenham-based Camera Security Services where workers routinely watched post-mortem investigations.

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The sister of footballer Emiliano Sala, who died when the plane in which he was travelling crashed into the English Channel in January, said she could not believe there were people in the world so evil and wicked they would share images from someone’s autopsy.

Bray’s barrister, Nicholas Cotter, said his client should have known better: “She had a responsibility to know better, but she looked and she looked in Pandora’s Box and one knows that causes difficulties.”

The 49-year-old, of Charles Street, Corsham, has already pleaded guilty to accessing CCTV footage of Mr Sala’s autopsy at Bournemouth’s Holly Tree Lodge mortuary, the post-mortem of Dorset father Andrew Latcham and perverting the course of justice. Together with co-defendant Christopher Ashford, 62, of Page Close, Calne, she appeared before Swindon Crown Court to be sentenced. 

The pair will now have to wait until Monday afternoon to hear their fate, after Judge Peter Crabtree adjourned the case to consider his sentence over the weekend.

Outline of case

This morning, prosecutor Rob Welling said CSS held the contract to monitor CCTV systems at the Bournemouth mortuary between 5pm and 8am.

He told the court: “The fact that they could be accessed did not entitle them to it. Autopsies are only ever conducted during work hours. They had no business looking at the autopsy room at any stage least of all between the hours of 8am and 5pm in the daytime.

“As the manager of day-to-day operations of the monitoring room of CSS, Sherry Bray had a pivotal role in setting both the tone and the culture of what took place on the premises.

“It is apparent from what the police later discovered that she allowed a culture to develop where both she and other members of staff would watch as and when autopsies on mortuary CCTV.”

Bray was made a director and a minority shareholder at CSS, after the death of her father. Her brother, sales director Julian Bray, was the guiding force at the firm - while sister Sherry managed the CCTV operations room.


Sala, 28, had just signed for Cardiff City when the plane he was travelling in crashed into the English Channel, north of Guernsey, on January 21.

His body was recovered on February 6 and a post-mortem examination took place at Bournemouth Mortuary the following day.

Video watched

That morning, Bray had become aware of a growing police presence around the mortuary.

At 2.26pm she messaged co-worker Christopher Ashford, a man who by his own admission had a morbid interest in forensic science.

“Nice one on the table for you to watch when you are next in,” she told him.

Ashford replied: “Not from the plane that crashed into the sea?” Yeah, she said. “Pilot or footballer?” Footballer, came the reply.

At 2.38pm a photograph was taken of Mr Sala’s body. It was this image that later circulated on WhatsApp and Twitter.

A minute later, Sherry Bray took an image of Mr Sala on her phone and sent it to her youngest daughter, in her mid-20s, who immediately deleted it. It is unclear who took the image that shocked millions around the world.

The following day, Bray accessed the post-mortem via a video playback facility.

Ashford, a night shift worker at CSS, replayed the post-mortem six times on February 9, 10 and 11. He took a picture of Mr Sala’s body, which he later shared with a friend.

When Bray became aware that an image from the post-mortem was circulating online, she messaged Ashford in a panic and announced her intention to delete the footage of the autopsy from CSS’s systems.


Police raided CSS’s offices on February 18. Bray was interviewed four times. Ashford made full and frank admissions in his first interview, telling detectives he had a morbid obsession with forensics.

Bray tried to delete two images of Mr Sala’s body from her phone, but police were able to recover the pictures from her deleted items folder together with an image taken of the autopsy of Andrew Latcham, who took his own life in 2017.

Victims' families speak out

In victim personal statements, Emiliano Sala’s sister, Romina, said she could not believe there were people so evil and wicked.

She said: “I will never erase those images from my head.”

In a statement directed at the two defendants, Mr Latcham’s son, Richard, said: “Not for a minute did you stop to think about the impact on the families of those whose bodies you photographed.”

READ MORE: Boss at family firm where Sherry Bray logged into Sala CCTV slams his sister's actions as unacceptable

READ MORE: Detective in Sala mortuary pictures case speaks outside Swindon Crown Court


Nicholas Cotter, for Bray, said his client worked at a firm where camera operatives thought they had carte blanche to look at all the images recorded by their CCTV cameras at all times: “That was the atmosphere at this company for a long time.”

Bray was remorseful and had never intended for the images she took to be in the public domain, he added.

Thomas Horder, for Ashford, said his client had never been in trouble before. He was deeply sorry and remorseful for what he had done: “He is someone who is devastated and ashamed of his actions.”

Watching the autopsy footage was said to have been the biggest mistake Ashford, a grandfather of four, had ever made. He had been sacked by CSS four-weeks-ago, Mr Horder added.


Ashford pleaded guilty to offences under the Computer Misuse Act, using the video playback facility to view the post-mortem.

Bray admitted three counts under the same act and a charge of perverting the course of justice by instructing Ashford to “delete your pics”, deleting images herself and deleting footage from CSS’s systems.