Wales

'Wicked' blackmailer Catherine Bennett took £26,000

A woman has been jailed for two-and-a-half years after the "wicked and persistent" blackmailing of a man for £26,200.

Catherine Bennett, 30, of Newtown, Powys, threatened to lie to police and falsely claim her victim was a paedophile, Mold Crown Court heard.

She also falsely claimed the man from Ebbw Vale, Blaenau Gwent, who cannot be named, had raped her.

Bennett admitted blackmail between January and November last year.

The court heard her victim went into debt, took out loans and sold personal items to stop her from telling lies to police.

He eventually went to a friend to ask for cash but broke down and told him what was happening.

He was persuaded to speak to police but Bennett falsely claimed he had raped her and was paying her to keep quiet about it.

She said she would only make a complaint of rape if he made a blackmail complaint against her.

The judge, Mr Recorder Wyn Jones, branded it a "wicked and persistent" period of blackmail which had a great effect on the victim's life.

"Your texts set out the way your mind was working to get your hands on more and more money," he told her.

"The threats were extremely unpleasant."

Disabled son

He said there were repeated threats over a significant period of time.

Prosecutor John Hedgecoe said the man first contacted the defendant over a chatline site.

He gave her £900 over a period of time when she said she had a disabled son and was struggling to care for him. Her son was actually being cared for by his grandmother.

Bennett and her victim exchanged videos of each other in various poses but she also sent a photograph of a young woman then asked him for money.

He refused but she sent a text claiming that the young woman was under age and if she did not receive any money she would "tell the cops he was a paedophile".

He sent her £700 and then £500, and she later demanded £3,000 saying she was taking her son on holiday when she was actually going to Turkey with a female friend.

Gordon Hennell, defending, said that his client had a borderline personality disorder who was ashamed of what she had done.