Man jailed for blackmailing secret gay men via dating site - Luton

24/08/2016

A blackmailer, who threatened to expose men using a gay pick-up website, was jailed for two-and-half-years today, Wednesday, 24 August 2016.

Liam Hull, aged 22, targeted scores of men using the site for his wicked demands. Having made contact with his victims, some of whom were married with children and who were secretly using the site Grindr, Hull would threaten to expose them unless they paid him money. One victim paid over a thousand pounds into a bank account that Hull had set up. Another victim, a man who had been married for over 20 years and who had two grown up children, was forced to confess to his wife about his double life. Another man suffered a mild stroke because of the worry and stress after Hull contacted him.

Hull, of Green Court, Green Close, Luton in Bedfordshire, pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to three offences of blackmail.

Prosecutor Max Hardy told the court Hull had used the site called Grindr, which was used by gay men to make make contact with the individuals who were to became his victims. He had set out to ensnare scores of victims across the south of England, but many had been reluctant to help the police for fear their families would find out about their double lives. The prosecutor said the three charges Hull faced concerned three men, who had become blackmail victims, but who had found courage to help the authorities. He referred to the victims by the initials A, B and C.

Bedfordshire Police arrested Hull in May of the year.

Defendng, Mr David Healey told the court Hull had been diagnosed in his youth with ADHD and dyslexia and had spent some time in his teens in care. When he was arrested he was living in rented accomodation and was on benefits.

The court was told how in July of 2015, Hull had been convicted of an offence of making a false representation after contacting a man he had met through the website Grindr site and asking for £200 from him to meet, but then failed to turn up. In 2014, he had accepted a police caution for pursuing a course of conduct, which amounted to harrassment, by threatening to put pictures on Facebook of a man who had been in contact with him regarding sexual matters.

As he passed sentence today, Judge Richard Foster paid tribute to the bravery of victims A, B and C, who had come forward "to ensure that justice was done in this case."

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