Tayside and Central Scotland

Man posed as underage girl online to blackmail father-of-four

Patrick Rodgers Image copyright PPA
Image caption Patrick Rodgers set up a fake Facebook account to blackmail his victim

A man who posed online as a 15-year-old girl to blackmail a married father-of-four has been jailed for 25 months.

Patrick Rodgers set up a fake Facebook profile and engaged in sexual chats with the man before threatening to expose him as a paedophile.

A court heard that the victim was so intimidated by the fear of exposure that he paid Rodgers £300.

The 25-year-old, from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, previously admitted a charge of extortion.

Perth Sheriff Court was told that, following his arrest, Rodgers admitted being in financial difficulties.

He told officers: "I was needing the cash. The money has been spent.

"I was pretending to be a 15-year-old girl."

Threats of violence

Rodgers admitted engaging in sexualised conversation on social media with the intention of menacing a named victim in Perth between 13 and 16 July 2014.

He also admitted issuing threats of violence and exposing the man as a paedophile and consequently extorting £300 from him.

Solicitor Linda Clark, defending, said: "He was in a relationship in this area, money was short, and between himself and his then partner they came up with this idea of setting up a profile on social media.

"The complainer was in a relationship and had four children and did not want the information to be made available to his partner, so he went along with the demands from Mr Rodgers."

Sheriff Gillian Wade said: "There is no alternative to a custodial sentence. Both charges would merit that on their own."

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