Man pretended to be a boy to blackmail OAP

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court

A man created fake internet profiles and posed as a 12-year-old boy to snare a pensioner and blackmail him out of £14,000.

The predator - who changed his name by deed poll to simply ‘Randall’ - has been jailed for two and a half years after building a complex web of deception to con the man out of his life savings.

I have no doubt that he was targeted because he had money and you regarded him as being a vulnerable person who would go for this scheme

Preston Crown Court heard Randall’s victim - a man in his 70s - lived in fear that he would be exposed as having an inappropriate interest in young boys for more than three years.

He made more than 400 bank transfers to Randall to buy his silence, after falling into the trap laid by his blackmailer.

Judge Robert Altham described the campaign as a “nasty and cynical offence”.

He said: “I have no doubt that he was targeted because he had money and you regarded him as being a vulnerable person who would go for this scheme.”

The court heard Randall - a diagnosed narcissist - has a history of deception and has previously served a prison sentence for fraud after setting up loans and credit cards by deception.

In 2010 Randall, of Glenmere Crescent, Cleveleys created an online persona, posing as the fictional 12-year-old nephew of a man both he and his victim knew.

The court heard he then convinced his victim to buy a new computer for each of them and told Randall he should not contact the youngster.

But after contact stopped between the pensioner and the man he believed to be a young boy, Randall created a second online persona and posed as a friend of the first boy - claiming the youngster had been in an accident and urging the pensioner to get in touch.

In December 2011, Randall visited the pensioner’s home, and warned him their mutual friend - the alleged uncle of Randall’s fake persona - was going to go to the police.

Between 2011 and 2013 the man handed over £14,335 in a bid to buy Randall’s silence and spare himself criminal proceedings.

Judge Altham said: “Eventually the victim went to the police and was interviewed in circumstances he was able to make a complaint.

“This was a ruthlessly executed blackmail.”