Fined and tagged: Edinburgh sauna worker blackmailed vulnerable client

A former sauna girl who blackmailed a vulnerable autistic client has been ordered to her victim compensation.

By Alexander Lawrie
Friday, 17th December 2021, 4:05 pm
Shamed Anderson leaves Edinburgh Sheriff Court
Shamed Anderson leaves Edinburgh Sheriff Court

Ashley Anderson, 35, started a relationship with the man after the pair struck up a friendship at the capital sauna she was working at in 2009.

They got engaged before splitting up and Anderson attempted to con him out £3000 years later by threatening to send his family intimate WhatsApp messages.

Scheming 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 when she appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month.

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She returned to the dock for sentencing and Sheriff Nigel Ross said: “You pled guilty to a charge of extortion on two dates for two sums that totalled £3000.

“It does represent a breach of trust on your part and a serious one.

“But because the relationship was a mutual one and you have shown remorse and are dealing with the problems you have sending yo to jail would be excessive.”

Anderson, from Granton, Edinburgh, was ordered to pay the man £240 in compensation and was placed on a restriction of liberty order.

She will have to wear an electronic tagging device and stay within her home between 9pm and 7am for seven months.

Anderson will also be supervised by the social work department for the next 12 months.

Previously prosecutor Alan Wickham told the court the autistic victim frequented saunas in the city between 2007 and 2009 and met 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.

The fiscal said after years of not hearing from Anderson the man began receiving WhatsApp messages from her 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.

The court was told 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.”

One message read: “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.

A second text said: “Call the police and I will show them all the dirty messages you sent asking to sleep 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.

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

Anderson had a not guilty plea accepted to a charge of 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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