Brighton Man Jailed For £50k Blackmail
6 February 2019, 12:33 | Updated: 6 February 2019, 12:35
A man from Brighton who blackmailed an elderly man into handing over nearly £50,000 has been jailed for more than 40 months.
Gavin Geddes, 46, of Vale Avenue sent threatening letters saying he would claim the 85-year-old had sexually assaulted him unless he paid the money.
Officers were contact by the victim, in August 2017 to report a matter of blackmail. The victim said over the previous five months he had been sent several letters by Geddes.
Through fear of having his reputation tarnished, the pensioner paid Geddes £47,000 in four separate transactions. Despite the bank being concerned by the figure of money being transferred to Geddes, the victim convinced staff he was not being blackmailed and the payments were legitimate.
In August 2017 the victim received another letter from Geddes of similar content to the previous ones. At this point, the victim had no savings left and decided to contact the police for support.
Geddes, a van delivery driver, was arrested by officer on August 11, 2017 but later released under investigation.
Officers launched a complex investigation into the case and the evidence collated allowed Geddes to be charged and convicted.
Detective Constable Tom Coll said: "Geddes saw an opportunity to exploit an elderly victim for his own personal gain by preying on his desire to maintain his reputation and status in society.
"I hope the guilty verdict and custodial sentence Geddes received sends a clear message that blackmail is a serious offence.
"We would encourage anyone who is a victim of blackmail to make contact with us to ensure the matter is investigated."