AN BUILDERS’ merchant blackmailed a businessman after posing as a firefighter in a failed sexual tryst.
Jack Clark, 27, met the man online and later threatened to contact the victim’s partner if he did not pay £50.
Dad-of-one Clark met the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, on a swingers website after becoming ‘confused’ sexually.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard Clark, of Turner Avenue, Gosport, was picked up by the man in a car, and went to garages in a Fareham housing estate where the encounter took place.
The victim had voluntarily given around £410 to Clark after Clark said he was unemployed and his parents died, prosecutor Timothy Akers said.
Mr Akers said the pair had been swapping messages in Kik messenger, but Clark became threatening between February 5 and 8, including claiming he would tell police the victim sexually abused him.
He said: ‘The messages then became threatening, asking for money and threatened the victim he would go to the papers and tell them about them meeting up.
‘He said he would tell the police the victim sexually assaulted him if he didn’t pay.’
The blackmail relates only to £50, which the victim refused to pay.
When the victim challenged Clark, he replied: ‘Where’s the police? I Facebooked your boyfriend and the papers are sorting out a story.
‘They’ve heard of you and are very interested, local businessman hitting on straight men.’
Police were told and Clark was arrested. He admitted sending the messages and being ‘desperate’ after splitting with his daughter’s mother. In court he admitted blackmail.
Recorder Elizabeth Bussey-Jones jailed Clark for eight months, saying courts recognised blackmail as a ‘nasty and ugly offence’.
She said: ‘In my judgement this is a case that crosses the custody threshold, it’s appropriate for me to impost an immediate sentence of imprisonment.’
For Clark, David Bathurst said: ‘The picture, I submit, is painted is not one of a cold, planned, calculated, ruthless plan to extort money over a period of time, but a rather stupid and desperate scattergun sequence of communications, none of which were followed by any actions to follow the threats through.’