A blackmailer was reported to the police after he demanded money from a man he met via a gay social networking site.
The victim, Mr X, who cannot be identified, had spent the night with Nicholas Sheffield after they arranged a meeting. But the following day he began receiving text messages from Sheffield asking for £250.
In the first message, he named organisations which would be informed if no contact was made. The second text mentioned a tape having been made of what had taken place during their night together, Ewan McLaughlin, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court yesterday. (March 13)
After the third text was received saying ”You use escorts, you pay for them”, Mr X finally replied saying he would not be blackmailed and would go to the police if the messages continued.
When more texts were sent he did go to the police and Sheffield was arrested. The victim indicated he had suffered worry and stress if he was publicly identified.
Richard Reed, representing Sheffield, said he acted out of stupidity when heavily intoxicated, adding: “There is no suggestion he has ever behaved in this manner to anyone else he has met through this social network.”
Sheffield, 38 of Estcourt Terrace, Headingley, admitted blackmail. He was given a nine-month jail sentence suspended for 18 months with 200 hours unpaid work and £250 costs.
Judge Christopher Batty told him: “This was mean and unpleasant and caused the complainant a lot of worry.”
The judge said there was nothing wrong in what happened between them “but you wanted to prey on other persons’ views of the situation for your own gain.”