He said her life would ‘flip upside down’ if she did not give over the money
A teenager blackmailed his former teacher into handing over £10,000 which he spent on a car and designer clothes after alleging the pair engaged in an inappropriate relationship.
The 18-year-old from Leicester created a fake email address and Facebook account to pose as a stranger claiming to have evidence of encounters between the pair.
He threatened to expose this and jeopardise the teacher’s job if she did not give him varying quantities of cash, Leicester Crown Court heard today.
The first fraudulent message from a bogus Facebook account was sent on Wednesday, July 13, 2016, just weeks after the teenager had finished his GCSEs.
It read: “Hello, you don’t know me, but I know you quite well.”
He went on to claim to have a picture of her in an “intimate position” with the student, which was in reality himself, and said he wanted £8,000 not to use this against her.
She refused the demand and received a new message which read: “In that case, watch your life flip upside down in the next few weeks.”
They exchanged further messages and eventually she agreed to hand over the money.
She took out £4,000 from her savings and a £4,000 loan and dropped this off in some bushes near a school to be collected by her blackmailer.
She blocked the Facebook account and hoped this would be the end of it.
However in December 2016 she received an email demanding further cash.
This was sent from a fake address created by the blackmailing student.
The email said that because she had continued to have a relationship with the student the author had “no choice but to tell the authorities”.
She tried to reason with this demand, protesting that there was nothing untoward about the relationship.
She said she saw potential in the student and was simply his friend.
He had needed money to take part in some extra-curricular sporting activities which she provided and she felt “obliged” to look out for him, as his mother was ill.
She eventually agreed to drop off an extra £2,000, which she scraped together using credit cards, loans and an overdraft.
In February 2017 she received a final email requesting £12,000.
She could not afford this and finally decided to contact the police.
The student’s home address was searched and a phone and a laptop which had been used to access the fake email account used in the blackmail were seized.
He was interviewed by police and said that the teacher was his friend, that their relationship was strictly platonic, and denied blackmailing her.
However, he later pleaded guilty to the charge of blackmail at his first crown court appearance, and has also made reports of sexual encounters between him and the teacher happening when he was 15.
Defending the teenager, Pree Brada said: “He accepts in his police interview he did not make full admissions.
“That is because he was embarrassed and hadn’t disclosed the details to his mother.
“The defendant knows what he did was very serious and nasty and it’s going to have very serious consequences.
“He knows he will be punished harshly.”
She also said the teacher had conducted “private tuition” sessions in a hotel room with the student.
As well as this she bought him gifts including an iPhone, designer clothes and a Playstation.
Ms Brada said the matter of sexual contact was now with the police.
The “teacher pupil” relationship was described as “inappropriate” throughout the court hearing.
Sentencing, Judge Timothy Spencer QC said: “Whatever the nature of the relationship, it provides no excuse for blackmail.
“I’ve a list of references that show that there is a good side of you.
“It’s a shame you acted so drastically out of character.
“The real question is if you have to go away. It gives me no pleasure to say that you do.”
The teenager was sentenced to eight months in a young offenders’ institution.
A restraining order was also put in place preventing the young man from contacting the teacher for five years.