Sunderland blackmailer and danger driver is jailed

A man who had his vehicle torched was told another would be set on fire unless he forked out £15,000.

Wednesday, 19th August 2020, 6:26 pm

Newcastle Crown Court heard that Reece Roberts, 21, and Luke Haley, 22, were behind the Sunderland blackmail following the winter fire.

Police were alerted and the pair were arrested after a potential drop-off of cash was arranged

Tony Cornberg, mitigating for Roberts, of Pallion Park, Sunderland, said: “He has barely any criminal history and and is described as a reserved character, someone who is difficult to get information from.

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Reece Roberts has been jailed for three years and six months.

"It seems to me he's found himself in a world he knows very little about.

"How does someone like this end up in this sort of offending, it seems to me he is being dragged into a world he knows nothing about."

Mitigating for Haley, of Waterford Green, Sunderland, Andrew Walker said Halley “on one drunken night out had made a catastrophic decision that led him to be involved”.

Mr Walker added: "He was a 21-year-old who had never been in trouble in his life with good exam results and had gone into further education and worked hard for it."

Luke Haley received a suspended sentence for his role in the blackmail.

He pleaded guilty to one count of blackmail and was handed a 15 month prison sentence suspended for two years, a £200 victim surcharge fine, and 150 hours of unpaid work.

Roberts, who also pleaded guilty to blackmail, was jailed for three years and six months after also committing a string of motoring offences in February 2019.

He admitted driving while disqualified, causing serious injury by dangerous driving, failing to stop after an accident, failing to report an accident, having no licence and having no insurance

The court heard that Roberts had hit a man as he was crossing Front Street, in Hetton and forced him up and over his vehicle, causing damage to the central bonnet and windscreen.

"The victim was taken to hospital and had significant injuries including open fractures to the humerus, tibia as well as a number of fractures to the pelvis," added prosecutor Michael Bunch.

Banning him from the roads for 66 months, Mr Recorder Simon Myerson told Roberts: "The pain caused was appalling and has caused life long issues for the victim."

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