Blackmailer jailed for bogus sex claim

A woman has been jailed for demanding money from a disabled man by lying that he had slept with a minor.

Amanda Smith, of The Avenue, Leigh, admitted two counts harassment without violence between November and December and December and March when she appeared at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court.

Tess Kenyon, prosecuting, said that the 63-year-old victim first met Smith seven years ago after she knocked on his door demanding he give her money, or she would call the police over a sexual encounter he had with a male whom she alleged was under age.

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Ms Kenyon reiterated that to the magistrates that this was not true and the liaison was consensual between two adults.

The victim, who is registered disabled and relies on crutches, paid her money to leave, as he did not want her going to anyone else asking for money.

She continued to make demands over the next two years and the police gave her a warning, which seemed to have prevented her from re-offending.

However, two years later she contacted the victim again, demanding more money.

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She stopped for another period but then returned, the hearing was told.

Ms Kenyon said: “The defendant was arrested in January this year and she said she asked for money to fund her drug habit. She knew he was vulnerable and disabled.

“Throughout January and February she continued to harass him and ask for money.

“She returned over four consecutive days. She banged on his front window and went to his back garden, to his rear window, saying’ give me money and I will go.’

“He gave her £40 as he wanted to get rid of her.

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“On February 17 she knocked at his door again, crying, saying that she and her daughter were wet and cold, and asking for money.

“As a result the claimant was understandably intimidated and scared.

“In an impact statement he said he was worried about being assaulted, or his property being damaged and the last few years have been stressful. He said he was on his own, always looking over his shoulder.

“He said: ‘This is having an impact on my health as I am extremely stressed and have anxiety.’

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“This is a disability hate crime - she has targeted him knowing he is disabled and vulnerable.”

Karen Schofield, defending, said: “She did not target him because he was disabled - he gave her money on that one occasion and she saw him as a meal ticket, as she knew if she went back enough times he would give her money. Regardless of whether he was disabled and vulnerable, she found someone who would give her money.

“She was not threatening him. There was no suggestion she would cause damage. She needs help.”

On sentencing Smith to 26 weeks in prison, the chairman of the magistrates said: “You made demands of money from a disabled and vulnerable man. Your actions left him frightened at home.”

Smith, who has previous convictions, will serve half her time in prison and half on licence. She was also ordered to pay £80 victim surcharge.

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