A blackmailer who delivered chilling face-to-face threats to a man and his family over an alleged £1,000 debt has been given a 22-month prison sentence.
Patrick Doherty, 41, was charged with blackmail after making threats which left his victim on edge and fearful for his life.
Carlisle Crown Court heard the victim, who is not being named, was approached by a woman in a pub claiming to be able to rekindle a former romance the victim had with his ex-girlfriend, whom the woman claimed to know.
When the victim refused to pay £1,000, the woman asked Doherty to visit the victim’s home and intimidate him into paying the money.
Doherty called at the man’s home in late July, saying he had come to collect the £1,000 for the woman, as well as a fee of £2,000 for himself, as a guarantee to leave the victim and his family alone.
Gerard Rogerson, prosecuting, said: “Mr Doherty said if he messed him around, he would turn up at his house with 10 lads and go through the front door."
There were also threats delivered to harm the man’s parents and torch their caravan and boat, the court heard.
Doherty warned “he and his people” were not to be messed with, boasted that they were not bothered about CCTV nor the police, and described himself as an “Irish traveller.”
Their contact continued in phone conversations, one of which was recorded by the victim on a dash-cam.
Doherty made reference at one stage to the fact the man had not gone to work that morning, causing the victim to warily check his car mirrors and take an alternative route when he next drove.
In an impact statement, the man described being left on edge and fearing for his safety and that of his family.
“It has kept him awake at night,” said Mr Rogerson.
“He has cried himself to sleep. The issue is constantly on his mind.”
After the man did report the matter, Doherty was arrested by police who found he had taken the SIM card from his phone and stashed it in his underwear.
Doherty — previously of Low Harker, near Carlisle, and now of Wokingham, Berkshire — admitted blackmail between 20 and 24 July 2022, and the possession of a personal use amount of cannabis which was found after his detention.
Jeff Smith, mitigating, said: “He invites the court to look at his behaviour as drug-fuelled stupidity which he very much regrets.”
Jailing Doherty, Judge James Adkin said the prison term had to be immediate, to deter those seeking to engage in blackmail.
“It was wholly unwarranted. It was persistent,” Judge Adkin told Doherty of his offending.