A PAIR accused of leaking mortuary pictures of footballer Emiliano Sala have appeared before magistrates.

Christopher Ashford, 62, of Page Close, Calne, and Sherry Bray, 48, of Charles Street, Corsham, are accused of illegally accessing CCTV and replaying a post-mortem of the Cardiff City striker and Dorset grandfather Andrew Latcham.

Ashford faces six charges of causing a computer to perform a function to secure "unauthorised access" to a program or data, contrary to the Computer Misuse Act 1990. Bray is charged with three counts of the same offence.

Ashford is said to have watched Mr Sala’s post-mortem six times over a 48 hour period.

Bray is accused of watching the post-mortem live on February 7 and distributing an image of Sala from the investigation. Prosecutors allege she perverted the course of justice by deleting pictures of the football player from her phone and instructing Ashford to “delete the pics”.

She has also been charged with illegally accessing mortuary CCTV to watch a post-mortem of Blandford pensioner Mr Latcham, whose body was found in a Dorset river in April last year.

The pair appeared before Swindon Magistrates’ Court this morning, speaking only to confirm their names and addresses. Neither entered pleas to the charges.

Ashford was represented by Tom Horder, Bray by Nicholas Cotter. Tom Powell appeared for the crown.

Magistrates released the pair on unconditional bail to appear before Swindon Crown Court for a plea and trial preparation hearing on August 9.

Argentina international Sala, who had just signed for Cardiff City from French side FC Nantes, died in January when the plane taking him to Cardiff crashed into the English Channel, north of Guernsey, on January 21.

His body was brought ashore at Portland.

A post-mortem was carried out at Holly Tree Lodge Mortuary, Dorset, the following day. A week later, police were alerted to an image on Twitter apparently showing the dead Argentinian footballer.

The image was removed from Twitter, but has since been shared to other social media sites.

The investigation is the first to be brought before the courts by Wiltshire Police’s digital investigation unit, established last summer.

Mr 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.