The sister of former soccer ace John Hartson has been cleared in a match-fixing betting probe.
And 45-year-old Hayley has told how her ex-Premier League star brother is delighted for her after her “two-and-a-half years of hell”.
Hayley was arrested along with 10 others in a dawn raid in April 2016 after winning £400 on a shock result in the Welsh Football League.
But she was never charged and this week police told her she would face no further action. “I couldn’t wait to tell John.
“He was over the moon, delighted,” said Hayley. “He said I should put it behind me, make a fresh start.”
What made her ordeal worse was that John, now a Match of the Day pundit, has battled gambling addiction.
“I’ve had to put up with jokes and finger-pointing because of my name,” she said. “But I’m so proud of the man John has become.”
Hayley was held after suspicious FA officials called in police when relegated Rhyl, who had not won in 17 games, beat Port Talbot 5-0 in April 2016 amid an unusual flurry of bets and suspicions over “sloppy” defending.
She had bet £50 at 8/1 that Rhyl would be winning at half-time and full-time. Her son James was a Port Talbot player but wasn’t in the side that day.
“It was the last game of the season. I thought the odds were good as I knew both teams were s**t. I was delighted when I won.
“I went to B&Q and bought some new tiles for my bathroom. Not really a champagne lifestyle is it?
“If I’d known it was fixed I would have put £10,000 on it.”
Her joy turned to despair when four detectives banged on her door in Swansea four months later.
Hayley says: “I hadn’t a clue what they were on about. They took my phones, iPad and laptop. It’s been two-and-a-half years of hell.
“I’ve not been able to get a job, I’ve put up with sly comments, assuming guilt. Now I want people to know I did nothing wrong.”
Former Wales striker John, 43 – who played for Arsenal and Celtic – now helps younger players who have gambling problems.
South Wales Police last night confirmed their match-fixing probe is continuing. A spokesman said: “We continue to liaise with the Crown Prosecution Service with regard to the remaining 10 under investigation.”