Jail for cleaner guilty of blackmailing 85-year-old

By County Echo Reporter in Law

A CLEANER from Cardigan has been jailed for 18 months for blackmailing an 85-year-old man by threatening to report him to the police for made-up sex offences.

But an unrepentant Linda Mary Thomas, aged 62, still has the £10,000 she got out of the pensioner.

Thomas, of Briscwm Cottages, came unstuck when she demanded a second £10,000 and “caring bank staff” persuaded him to tell them what was going on.

Judge Geraint Walters said that there was a suspicion that Thomas had been told that the police were on their way and that she hid the original £10,000. But Swansea Crown Court heard this week that the police had not given up and there was a Proceeds of Crime investigation underway to try and locate it or force Thomas to repay it.

Thomas had denied blackmail but was convicted after a trial.

The jury heard how the man was in the habit of giving her a peck on the cheek from time to time.

Thomas took advantage of that and told him she would claim that he had touched her breasts unless he gave her £10,000.

Her victim gave her £8,000 but she complained it was not enough and he withdrew a further £2,000.

By then, staff at the town’s Lloyds bank had become worried about why he was withdrawing such large amounts of cash.

Thomas then threatened to complain that he had tried to rape her unless he handed over a further £10,000.

The court heard he was so worried and embarrassed he went to the bank again, but this time staff persuaded him to explain what was happening. Staff called in social services who contacted the police.

Judge Walters said if the staff had not shown such a caring attitude the entire £20,000 would have disappeared and the offending “would have forever remained a secret”.

Dean Pulling, the barrister representing Thomas, said she still maintained her innocence and therefore had nothing to say about the missing £10,000.

The court heard that Thomas had a previous conviction for shoplifting and seven years ago was convicted of benefits fraud.

Judge Walters said that, because Thomas continued to deny her guilt, there had not been an offer to repay the £10,000.

Her threats, he added, involved “complete and utter lies” but her victim had been a proud and vulnerable man who still suffered the effects of her wrongdoing.

This week’s County Echo is out in shops now.

Related Articles

Add Comment

Add Your Comment

You don't need an account to leave a comment

By posting your comment you agree to our T & C