Here's the piece from the Mirror.
GERRARD IN GANGLAND LOVE TRIANGLE
Feb 9 2003
Exclusive by Graham Johnson And James Weatherup
ENGLAND soccer star Steven Gerrard has received terrifying death threats from a gangster over a teenage model.
The Sunday Mirror can reveal that armed police were drafted in to protect the £30,000-a-week Liverpool player after he became caught up in an astonishing love triangle with George Bromley junior, a notorious drug dealer and son of a murdered gangland boss.
The chilling warnings came after 22-year-old Gerrard - seen as a future England captain - dated pretty Lauren Ashcroft when she was a 15-year-old schoolgirl.
After splitting from Gerrard she started seeing Bromley, who is now behind bars.
But the young thug - whose father was executed in a gangland shooting - was jealous of his girlfriend's on-going friendship with Gerrard, sparking the chilling threats
Unwittingly, the player also became friends with Lauren's dad Peter, 40, who was arrested for a serious drugs offence two months after Gerrard and Lauren split. Gerrard knew nothing of her father's criminal activities.
The pub doorman is now serving four-and-a-half years in prison for supplying 5,000 ecstasy tablets and for possessing a gun.
The revelations follow a dramatic and unexplained loss of form by Gerrard this season. He was banned for three games last week at an FA disciplinary hearing for a violent tackle.
The cause of Gerrard's dip in form was cryptically referred to by Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier in November last year.
After hauling him off the pitch during a vital European match against Basle in Switzerland Houllier fumed: "The problem is not physical with Stevie, maybe it's a matter of his environment. I'm frustrated in him."
Now the The Sunday Mirror can reveal for the first time how Gerrard has been subjected to a series of frightening incidents including:
A brick thrown through the window of his £50,000 car.
Being chased in his car through the streets of Liverpool.
Being challenged to a bare knuckle fight by furious Bromley.
Bromley, then 19, was sent to a young offenders institute in May last year after he admitted supplying heroin and crack cocaine.
Police took the threats to Gerrard so seriously that they implemented a thorough review of his security.
DEATH THREATS: Gerrard
An underworld source said: "Gerrard was terrified. He employed round-the-clock minders to protect him and the police were brought in."
Detectives also ordered Football Association chiefs to step up security around the player while he was on England duty.
A police source said: "Gerrard's security was reviewed totally. A threat analysis was drawn up and his luxury home in Southport and family home in Liverpool were studied.
"Policed Armed Response Vehicles were instructed to patrol outside his apartment in Southport. And a 24-hour watch was also put on his mother's house.
"It was feared Bromley had access to firearms and he was shadowed continually by officers for weeks.
"He was not only warned to stay away from Gerrard, but the police were constantly on his case. They never gave him a minute's peace.
"He was always being pulled up for the slightest offences, even for not wearing a seatbelt.
"This was a police tactic to let him know that we were watching him in case he made a move on Gerrard."
Lauren Ashcroft - who dated the star for three months - told a friend how Gerrard had watched in shock as his luxury silver BMW X5 was smashed up.
The terrifying incident happened in November 2001 when a gang of hoodlums threw a brick at the car when it was parked outside her home near Anfield stadium.
Lauren, who plans to become a model, told a friend: "Steven was sitting there and I went next door to get a cup of sugar. Then Steven told me, 'They've thrown a brick at my car.' He was on the couch looking out, he didn't see who it was.
"The car was scratched and dented. "Lauren made a statement to police and told them that she wasn't sure who had attacked the car.
But friends say they already knew.
Lauren dated Bromley for nine months after her relationship with Gerrard, but they eventually fell out.
A close pal added: "Her parents were not happy with her seeing Bromley. He was pretty flash with nice cars and plenty of money.
"But when she finished with him he would not let her go, even though he had other girlfriends. He was trying to get her back.He was a jealous boyfriend, but was not a nice person."
The terror campaign began in January, 2001 after Gerrard fell for Lauren who was then still at school.
He was just 20 and had burst into the Liverpool first team and already was being touted as one of England's brightest stars.
Lauren, who works three days a week in a sports shop, told a friend: "We met by accident. I was with one of his close mates, Jonathan Boggan, and Steven kept staring at me. Jonathan introduced us and he gave him my mobile number.
"He kept phoning and asking me out, but I didn't know who he was. I didn't know anything about football. He was a very normal person. He's very friendly and down-to-earth."
Lauren was working part-time in the shop's sunbed salon and Gerrard would pop in for a cup of tea and a chat.
A friend of the family said: "Sometimes they'd go to the pictures or go out for nice meals or just stay in.
"She said he was very fit and nice looking. She was still at school and didn't tell her friends, but word did get out.
"She wouldn't let him pick her up from school because she felt it would be showing off. He was her first serious boyfriend though
"But she did not have a clue about football. She started keeping a scrap book of cuttings when articles and pictures of him appeared in the papers. She's only ever been to a match once before when she was about 10 with her dad so she didn't know anything about the game.
"Steven once gave her £100 to go out one night when he couldn't make it. But Lauren didn't want his money, so she gave it back to her mum so she could return it to him."
Lauren's pal said Gerrard used to stay over at her family home after a match but always in separate rooms, sleeping in his girlfriend's younger brother's bed.
He was always the perfect gentleman, she said.
Gerrard innocently became friends with Lauren's dad Peter Ashcroft - but he had no idea he was dealing in drugs. The friend went on: "Lauren's dad is a Liverpool fan. So he cosied up to Steven."
Ashcroft was jailed in April last year for four and a half years after pleading guilty to being concerned in the supply of drugs and possessing a gun.
The judge heard how Ashcroft used the family home as safehouse to store 5,000 Ecstasy tablets with a street value of up to £50,000.
Neither Lauren Ashcroft or her mother Jeanette were prepared to talk about his jail sentence.
A neighbour revealed "When Lauren began seeing Steven she didn't even tell her parents at first.
"They couldn't believe it when Steven Gerrard walked down the path. When they met him he was a really down-to-earth fella, no airs or graces Steven and her dad got on really well. He was comfortable.
"Steven was the perfect gentleman. Before they went on dates he would ask permission from Lauren's dad. Of course, they were worried a bit because it was Lauren's first serious boyfriend. But he phoned to tell her mum that he thought a lot about her."
When their three-month romance fizzled out as a result of Gerrard's trips away with his club and England, he still kept in touch with Lauren and her family.
But the continued friendship enraged Bromley. The young thug was convinced the star was trying to steal his girlfriend, although Lauren told him he was just visiting her dad.
"Bromley was convinced that Lauren's dad was winding him up, taking liberties by inviting Gerrard round," says a friend.
And Gerrard became deeply concerned by the threats.
A pal of said: "He was really worried about his safety and Lauren's in particular. He gave a statement to the police about the car attack and asked them to protect Lauren as he feared both of their lives could be in danger.
"The police were brilliant. They sent regular car patrols to Lauren's house and gave the family an emergency hotline number to call in the event of an attack.
The intimidation escalated when Bromley spotted Gerrard driving in his car in Liverpool.
Drawing up alongside him he challenged Gerrard to fight him on the spot and threatened him with violence. But the footballer refused to stop and after a high-speed car chase gave him the slip.
A source said: "Gerrard's head was completely wrecked by all this carry on. He was trying to concentrate on his career and playing for Liverpool and England but this was dragging him down.
"Gerrard eventually decided to call in a minder, a well-known Liverpool hard man.
"The minder summoned Bromley to a secret meeting which he went to on his own. He's not scared of anyone.
"Bromley thought that Gerrard was deliberately winding him up be visiting Lauren. He also claimed that one of Gerrard's mates owed him money and he wanted to meet Gerrard to collect the debt.
"The minder warned him to lay off."
Gerrard became increasingly worried when his troubles with Bromley became common knowledge in Liverpool's underworld.
Apart from his vendetta against Gerrard, Bromley became embroiled in a gangland war and two attempts were made on his life, both totally unconnected to the footballer.
In April 2002 he was shot in the face by two men with sworn-off shotguns. Bodybuilder Bromley was peppered with gunshots and pellets were embedded in his mouth and tongue.
Fearing for his life he discharged himself from hospital a day later.
Just weeks later he was attacked from behind in a Liverpool bar where he was left for dead after suffering multiple injuries including a broken jaw and nose.
Close to death, he was eventually found and rushed to hospital where he recovered in intensive care.
The Bromley family are well known to police.
His father, feared gangster George Bromley senior, was executed in a gangland hit at the home of former armed robber Charlie Seiga in 1997.
Young Bromley became one of the youngest criminals in Britain to have assets seized by the courts when a Liverpool judge placed a confiscation order on the tearaway forcing him to hand over £3950.
Bromley was sent to a young offenders institute in May 2002 after a drugs sting by undercover detectives.
He admitted 16 counts of being concerned in the supply of heroin and crack.
It is believed by underworld sources that he is still a marked man.
"Someone has had two pops at him so he will have to be careful," one said.
"He fell for Lauren hook, line and sinker and they were very close but it was a stormy relationship because of his lifestyle.
"He had the money, the cars and growing reputation as a hard man, but he upset the big underworld names in Liverpool and he's now a marked man."
Gerrard, who was born and brought up in Liverpool's Huyton district, is regarded as one of the best midfielders in Europe, but injury forced him to miss the World Cup finals in Japan.
Close pals blame Gerrard's private life for his recent dramatic dips in form.
A former girlfriend revealed: "He used to have a lot of parties in his penthouse in Southport.
"He just used to invite everyone back from the pub. Sometimes he would get in trouble after arriving late for training the next morning."
Even his ex-girlfriend Brookside actress Jennifer Ellison criticised the player.
She said: "It's all very well getting a Mercedes, but if you are not happy, what's the point?"