Man jailed for blackmailing businessman - Bedford

07/01/2016

A blackmailer, who tried to get £8000 from a Bedford businessman by telling him if he didn't cough up he would send his wife and family embarrasing pictures of him with another woman, has today, Thursday, 07 January 2016, been jailed for 12 months.

Tanzaar Iqbal pleaded guilty to the offence of blackmail when he appeared at Luton Crown Court.

Sentencing the 22-year-old, who lives with his parents in Preston Road, Queens Park, Bedford, Judge Barbara Mensah told him the offence of blackmail was a particularly "nasty crime." She said the effect on the victim and his family from the threats by Iqbal, even though they were completely untrue, had been unsettling and embarrassing. The Judge told the former Bedford College student: "A Judge once called this offence the attempted murder of the soul."

The court was told the victim, who runs a shop in Bedford, began receiving mysterious and worrying text messages in the Spring of last year. The man had no idea who they were from, but the tone was menacing, demanding £8000 from him or pictures of him with a Latvian woman would be sent to his wife.

The court was told there was no basis for the demands - the businessman was completely innocent of the claims by the texter, but, as the threats continued and became more aggressive, his concerns increased.

The blackmailer wrote letters to the man's home in Bedford threatening to send embarrasing pictures to his loved ones. Police became involved and although the number of the mobile phone sending the texts had been withheld, a detective was able to establish the number and trace it back to Iqbal. Iqbal had used an iCloud in the sending of the text messages, but detective work soon established it was linked to Iqbal.

By the time police went to his home they also had samples of the handwriting of the blackmailer, who had sent letters to the businessman's home. As they searched the defendant's home, copies of his handwriting were seized and found to be identical to the writing of the blackmailer.

Kevin West, prosecuting, read out samples of the demands Iqbal had sent his victim in the form of text messages. One read: "Have you got the money or do you want these photos in your mother-in-law's hands?" Another read: "Watch out for the mail, I am bringing you down this week." In one, Iqbal said: "Never underestimate someone who has got something on you." A further one said: "Either I have that money or expect something through the post in the next few days."

The court was told the blackmailing of the man went on for a number of weeks and it was clear whoever was behind the threats had done research and knew where the man and his wife worked and where their daughter worked.

Judge Mensah was told Iqbal had put together his blackmail plan as a way of paying off a debt he had accumulated to drug dealers.

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