A CLEANER from Cardigan has been jailed for 18 months today for blackmailing an 85 year old man by threatening to report him to the police for made up sex offences.
But an unrepentant Linda Mary Thomas, aged 62, still has the £10,000 she got out of the pensioner.
Thomas, of Briscwm Cottages, came unstuck when she demanded a second £10,000 and “caring bank staff” persuaded him to tell them the what was going on.
Judge Geraint Walters said that there was a suspicion that Thomas had been told that the police were on their way and that she hid the original £10,000.
But Swansea Crown Court heard today (Jul 31) that the police had not given up and there was a Proceeds of Crime investigation underway to try and locate it or force Thomas to repay it.
Thomas had denied blackmail but was convicted after a trial.
The jury heard how the man was in the habit of giving her a peck on the cheek from time to time.
Thomas took advantage of that and told him she would claim that he had touched her breasts unless he gave her £10,000.
Her victim gave her £8,000 but she complained it was not enough and he withdrew a further £2,000.
By then staff at the town’s Lloyds bank had become worried about why he was withdrawing such large amounts of cash.
Thomas then threatened to complain that he had tried to rape her unless he handed over a further £10,000.
The court heard that he was so worried and embarrassed that he went to the bank again, but this time staff managed to persuade him to explain what was happening.
Staff then called in social services who contacted the police.
Judge Walters said if the staff had not shown such a caring attitude the entire £20,000 would have disappeared and the offending “would have forever remained a secret.”
Dean Pulling, the barrister representing Thomas, said she still maintained her innocence and therefore had nothing to say about the missing £10,000.
The court heard that Thomas had a previous conviction for shoplifting and seven years ago was convicted of a benefits fraud.
Judge Walters said that because Thomas continued to deny her guilt there had not been an offer to repay the £10,000.
Her threats, he added, involved “complete and utter lies” but her victim had been a proud and vulnerable man who still suffered the effects of her wrong doing.