Couple jailed for attempted extortion of council worker

Laura Colquhoun and Garry Foulds. Picture: Lesley Donald
Laura Colquhoun and Garry Foulds. Picture: Lesley Donald
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TWO lovers who attempted to extort hundreds of pounds from a city council worker by threatening to expose his secret life as an amateur glamour photographer have been jailed.

Garry Faulds, 21, and his fiancee Laura Colquhoun, 17, hatched a plot to force the 53-year-old man to hand over cash.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how the man – who cannot be named for legal reasons – spent more than a year taking topless photos of aspiring model Colquhoun.

He also said that she had repeatedly performed a sex act on him and was receiving £150 per photo session.

But the teenager allowed her boyfriend – who was wearing a balaclava and a blue boiler suit at the time – to burst into the local government employee’s home in the Capital.

Once inside, Faulds tied the man’s arms, legs and mouth together with gaffer tape and threatened to attack him with a gas canister.

He repeatedly struck the man and told him he was a member of an Ulster loyalist terror group who could cause him serious harm.

Faulds also threatened to tell the man’s employers that he was taking illegal photographs of underage girls.

At the court yesterday, Faulds’ advocate John McElroy said his client deeply regretted his actions, and said: “He regrets his actions. To paraphrase the words to a popular pop song, if he could turn back time, he would.”

Colquhoun’s solicitor advocate Liam O’Donnell asked temporary judge Paul Arthurson QC not to jail his client.

Mr O’Donnell added: “She is a vulnerable individual. Social workers describe her as 
somebody who is naive. She made a seriously poor decision on the day in question. She was very much the minor actor in the flat.

“The report describes her as being a vulnerable young woman who is keen to do well but is easily led.

“That, in my submission, is as accurate a summation of Laura Colquhoun that you can have.”

However, Judge Arthurson wasn’t impressed and sentenced Faulds to six years in prison.

His girlfriend Colquhoun wept as she was handed three years’ detention.

Judge Arthurson added: “Given the extremely serious nature of the offence – which must have been truly terrifying for the complainer who was in his own home – custodial sentences are inevitable.”

Faulds and Colquhoun, of Paisley, Renfrewshire, were convicted last month of a charge of robbing, assaulting and threatening to extort cash from the man at an address in Edinburgh on August 23 last year.

Sentence had been deferred until yesterday for the court to obtain background reports.

The man – who works in a senior capacity at Edinburgh City Council – has never been charged or prosecuted in connection with the allegations made by Faulds.

newsen@edinburghnews.com