A married man, who sent naked pictures of himself on Facebook to a person he thought was a woman, discovered to his horror that he had been the victim of an extortion plot.
At Edinburgh Sheriff Court 34-year old David Mellor of Craighill Road, Edinburgh, was jailed for 12 months, having pled guilty previously to obtaining £120 from the man by extortion on January 15 and 16 last year. Sentence had been deferred for background reports.
Mellor instructed him to withdraw £120 in cash and directed him to a bus stop on his mobile phone.”
Fiscal Depute, Kirsty Anderson, told Sheriff Alistair Noble that the victim reported the matter to the police on the evening of January 16.
He said he had been chatting on Facebook to a person he thought was a female called “Emma”, the previous day, that the chat became sexual and he had sent naked pictures of himself to “Emma”.
On January 16, Mellor contacted his victim and threatened that unless he paid £600 he would post the naked images on the Internet.
The Fiscal said: “He (Mellor) instructed him to withdraw £120 in cash at the Tesco Super Store in Colinton Mains Drive and directed him to a bus stop on his mobile phone. Mellor was transmitting from the area and the man dropped off the cash as instructed”.
The victim then reported the matter to the police and investigations led them to Mellor’s address.
Defence solicitor, Gillian Law, told the Sheriff that at the time of the offence her client had been in a long-term relationship with a partner and her children. The woman, she said, was in full-time education, studying for a degree. Mellor had been working as a security guard. “He had taken responsibility for the family, looking after the children and treating them as his own. He was the sole provider”.
Ms Law said, because of debt, Mellor became involved in the extortion plan. He had now lost his job and was on benefits.
Mellor, she added, had gone voluntarily to the police station and made a voluntary statement.
He had also instructed his lawyers to enter a guilty plea at an early stage, but that had not been accepted by The Crown.
Sentencing Mellor, Sheriff Noble told him: “This matter cannot be dealt with in any way other than by custody because of its seriousness. You were preying on this individual”.
Taking into account the relatively small amount of money, his voluntary attendance and statement and the fact that The Crown has not accepted the early plea of guilty, Sheriff Noble said he would reduce the sentence from 18 months to 12.