A blackmailer who threatened to divulge the secret life of a civil professional escort unless she paid him £ 10,000 was sentenced today to 14 months in prison.
John Menzie made an elaborate conspiracy to force the woman to give him the amount of money to hide her secret identity from her family and friends.
The 56-year-old planned to stage a film-style "drop" for the money he needed to pay off significant debts.
But his victim went to the police and his plan – which his own lawyer deemed "amateurish" – was disbanded, leading to his arrest.
Dundee Menzie admitted trying to extort £ 10,000 from the woman known as JE by threatening to expose her past in Dundee and Perthshire.
John Menzie, 56, has started an elaborate conspiracy to force the woman to give him the amount of money to keep her secret identity hidden from her family and friends (Image: Dundee Sheriff Court).
Sheriff Alastair Carmichael locked him up and issued a 10-year no-harassment order. He said, “Your lawyer described what you did as amateurish, but it was still organized and planned by you.
& # 39; This was a particularly nasty case of blackmail attempts due to the nature of the threats to reveal private and personal information.
"The only option is imprisonment to express society's disapproval of this type of behavior and the only appropriate punishment for this type of crime."
The Dundee Sheriff's Court heard Menzie tell the woman to pay him £ 10,000 in used banknotes to prevent her secret from being revealed to her employers and family.
He wrote her a letter that said, “Do you remember the old saying that your past is creeping up on you? Well, your head is about to straighten its ugly head. & # 39;
Menzie discovered the woman's secret and pretended that he had videotaped her in a hotel room with a customer.
Finance deputy Eilidh Robertson said: & # 39; For a period in 2016 she worked as an escort by promoting her services online under a pseudonym.
“Nobody in her life knows that she has taken on this job, including her partner and children.
The defendant found out about the work she had done when a friend discovered her on the adult website.
On the morning of February 4, 2020, the applicant saw a letter addressed to her on her doormat. The letter further alleged that the writer hired the applicant to accompany him and that the meeting between them was secretly filmed in a hotel room.
"It went on to say," Since that night I've been digging and researching a lot and finding out a lot of things, i. H. Your real name. Can you imagine what this will mean for you and your family? Employment? Your life? What price would you set for it? & # 39;
Dundee Menzie admitted trying to extort £ 10,000 from the woman known as JE by threatening to expose her past in Dundee and Perthshire (Image: Dundee Sheriff Court)
The court was told that the letter continued to demand £ 10,000 in cash and warned that the woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had less than a week to pay.
Menzie's letter said, “Warning – you will not discuss this with anyone. I have made arrangements to pass the information I need to receive to the relevant people in case something should happen to me.
“I'll tell you where to make the drop. You are being followed so make sure you are alone. There will be someone with a black helmet. He is a driver for a courier company and has nothing to do with me. & # 39;
Ms. Robertson said the complainant was extremely concerned about the letter and the possible impact on her family, who had no idea that she had worked as an escort.
She had no idea who was responsible for the letter and waited until she had time to report it to the police.
When the video surveillance was checked, a person who matched Menzie's description was lurking near her home when the letter was delivered.
The defendant was tracked down and arrested at his home on February 8th. he admitted he came up with the scheme because he had serious debts.
& # 39; He said that although he claimed to have a video in the letter, it is false and he actually does not have a video of her. This appears to be correct as he never hired the complainant for her services and merely pretended to be a former customer.
"He said the decision to send the letter was a spontaneous one."
Defense attorney Gary McIlravey told Dundee Sheriff's Court: “It is pretty clear that he went through a difficult period in his life and was in significant debt.
& # 39; It's a serious crime, but it was done in a rather amateurish manner. It wasn't well thought out. & # 39;
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