Blackmailer threatened to send woman's sex tape to boyfriend - unless she loaned him £20

The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.
The case was heard at Newcastle Crown Court.

A blackmailer threatened to expose a woman's sex tape to her boyfriend unless she loaned him £20 and warned: "I will destroy your happy life".

Jonathan Watson sent a copy of the explicit footage to his victim via messenger and warned he would send a version to her boyfriend's Facebook account unless she let him borrow cash.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the woman, who had previously, reluctantly, let Watson borrow £10 from her, was unaware the 30-year-old had the recording, which she said "made her sick".

Watson, of Rainton Street, Seaham, admitted two offences of blackmail and sending malicious communication.

Prosecutor Liam O'Brien told the court Watson was "struggling financially" in August last year and had received messages from a man he owed money to asking "what you doing about my money" and "where the f*** is my money".

Mr O'Brien said soon after he received the messages, Watson initially asked the woman for £10 and threatened to reveal a secret about her to her boyfriend unless she handed it over, which she did.

A few days later he asked for another £20 and she refused.

The court heard as a result, Watson warned the victim: "I will destroy your happy life".

Mr O'Brien said: "He then sent that video to the complainant's Facebook account (via messenger).

"The complainant was entirely unaware he was in possession of such a video and said it made her sick."

The court heard the woman contacted the police and said in a statement: "He has control of this video and can use it to cause serious damage to my private life.

"I am scared of what is going to happen next."

In a later statement, the victim said: "This involved him sending an internet video in which I can be seen.

"It made me feel sick to the stomach.

"I feel worried about where else this video is.

"I don't know if he shared it with anyone.

"I feel like I am wary all the time, waiting for it to be posted on social media."

Penny Hall, defending, said Watson has mental health problems, which he is now receiving help and treatment for and has drug issues.

Judge Julie Clemitson deferred sentence for six months so Watson can prove he can stay out of trouble, seek professional help to deal with his drug misuse and continue to comply with mental health treatment.

Judge Clemitson told him: "If you do, I will suspend the prison sentence and impose conditions to keep you and other people safe.

"If you don't, you are looking at a period of time in prison."