Leeds & West Yorkshire

Ex-Leeds director Simon Morris jailed for blackmail

Simon Morris
Image caption Simon Morris was convicted of trying to blackmail a former business partner

Former Leeds United director Simon Morris has been jailed for conspiring to blackmail a former business partner.

Morris, 34, of Ling Lane, Leeds, was sentenced to 18 months, having been found guilty of plotting to blackmail Hedley Manton.

A jury had heard the conspiracy related to a plan to sell an £800,000 house to Mr Manton in 2006.

Morris's bodyguard, Johnathon Ashworth, 49, was also found guilty of plotting to blackmail Mr Manton.

Ashworth, of Hyde, Cheshire, was also sentenced to 18 months in jail.

Stab threat

The jury at Newcastle Crown Court had earlier heard that as part of the house sale, Morris was to loan £100,000 to Mr Manton.

This would be paid back using profits gained following the liquidation of the pair's student property business, Leeds Portfolio No 1, of which Mr Manton owned 35%.

However, administrators were called in to the company and no profit was made, meaning Mr Manton could not pay back the debt.

Mr Manton said Ashworth then visited him at the offices of his new business, PADS, in Leeds, in 2009, threatening he would stab him if he did not pay the money he owed Morris.

Morris and Ashworth both intend to appeal against their convictions.

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