Edinburgh Crime: Sauna worker Ashley Anderson blackmailed vulnerable autistic client by threatening to show his family intimate sexual messages

A sauna worker carried out a sleazy blackmail campaign against a vulnerable autistic man she met while working at an Edinburgh parlour.

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Ashley Anderson started a relationship with the victim - even becoming engaged to him - after the pair struck up a friendship at the capital sauna she was working at in 2009.

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Anderson, 35, soon split with the man and then conned him out of £3000 years later after threatening to show his family intimate WhatsApp messages they had exchanged.

Anderson's case was heard at Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

Prosecutor Alan Wickham told Edinburgh Sheriff Court the man visited saunas in the city between 2007 and 2009 and “in the course of such visits he had met the accused Anderson”.

He said the pair “started seeing each other outwith the sauna environment” and eventually became engaged in 2011 before splitting up the following year.

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The fiscal said the man was autistic and that after years of not hearing from Anderson he began receiving WhatsApp messages from the sauna worker asking how he was in 2018.

He said they began to “message each other on a more regular basis” before Anderson asked him to be a guarantor for a £3500 loan to fund the opening of her own nail business.

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The court was told during Friday’s hearing that the man agreed to the request “on the condition the accused had sex with him”.

Mr Wickham said: “Following this the man received a number of texts messages, WhatsApp messages and phone calls demanding he give her money.

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“One message read ‘why are you not replying? I have nothing to lose so I will come to your house.

“I have all the messages you sent me wanting to have sex with me. If I don’t hear from you ASAP you leave me no choice but to show your mum and your girlfriend.”

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The court heard a further message sent by Anderson read: “Call the police and I will show them all the dirty messages you sent asking to sleep with me without a condom.”

Anderson sent the man her bank details and “continued to apply pressure” on him in her bid to extort the cash. The victim eventually transferred £1500 into her account on February 27, 2019.

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The man was then forced to send Anderson, from Granton, Edinburgh, a further £1500 after receiving more threatening messages on March 1, 2019.

Sheriff Nigel Ross deferred sentence to next month for criminal justice social work reports to be prepared.

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Anderson admitted menacing the man and putting him in a state of fear and alarm that texts of a sexual nature would be shown to his family and he should provide her with £3000 between February 27 and March 1, 2019.

She also had a not guilty plea accepted by the Crown to extorting a further £3500 from the man by threatening to show his family texts, posters and videos of a sexual nature on March 4, 2019.

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