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Thursday, 21 February, 2002, 13:01 GMT
Wedding 'remote' says naked civil servant
Internet graphic
A civil servant, whose naked picture was posted on the internet by a woman who was desperate to marry him, described the chances of future nuptials as "remote".

Stephen McPherson, 24, from Grays, Essex, achieved cult status when millions of people around the globe saw the image of him in his birthday suit on Valentine's Day.

Sarah Jay of Birmingham put the revealing image of Mr McPherson on a website on Valentine's Day under the title: "Tell Him To Marry Me".

But there was no fairytale ending as Serious Fraud Office law clerk Mr McPherson insisted the pair had only ever been friends and the picture was taken at a drunken strip poker game.


My feeling is that it's probably just a Valentine's prank that has gone wrong and blown up in her face

Stephen McPherson

Mr McPherson, who has been dubbed the Naked Civil Servant, said: "I was very angry about it at first. I just don't know the reasoning behind it."

While he admitted the chances of the pair getting married were "very, very remote" he did not completely dismiss the idea.

"Until I've spoken to her to find out if it is a serious proposal I don't know. If she puts up the argument for the other side I might consider it."

He was first alerted to his new-found infamy on Friday when the picture was featured on FHM.com, the website of the men's magazine, to which he subscribes.

Ms Jay, 23, also a civil servant, told her friends to have a look at the photo and then e-mail Mr McPherson to persuade him to pop the question.

'Complete psycho'

The site created so much worldwide interest that it crashed and was removed by the provider, Lycos.

Mr McPherson's photo revealed all at first, but later his modesty was maintained by a computer-generated fig leaf.


He's got a sense of humour so shouldn't react too bad

Sarah Jay

Mr McPherson said: "My feeling is that it's probably just a Valentine's prank that has gone wrong and blown up in her face.

"I never thought she was that interested and there had never been anything romantic.

"I wouldn't have said Sarah was a complete psycho, but it could have been a side of her that I've never seen."

Worldwide e-mails

The pair met through a civil service colleague and became friends, going out for drinks a number of times.

Mr McPherson said: "I was furious at first. But I got a lot of quite humorous e-mails from around the world that calmed me down, particularly from blokes saying they were glad they were already engaged."

Mr McPherson said he was horrified when it then appeared in the newspapers.

Since then he has tried to contact Ms Jay on her mobile and by e-mail to ask her about the stunt, but she has failed to reply.

Ms Jay, who claimed to have been Mr McPherson's long-term girlfriend, told internet monitoring site The Register in an e-mail: "We've been seeing each other on and off for seven years and I've been hinting at taking it a bit further.

"He's got a sense of humour so shouldn't react too bad and it lets him know I'm serious."


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See also:

29 Jan 02 | England
Web suitor bids 251,000 for bride
14 Feb 02 | Sci/Tech
From the internet with love
15 Feb 01 | Americas
Nude nuptials spark outrage
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