A 25-year-old man has received a suspended prison sentence after blackmailing a closeted grandfather he met on Grindr.
A judge handed UK man Kieran Thurling the 20-month jail term, suspended for two years, after threatening to out the older man to his ex-wife, children and grandchildren unless he paid him.
The victim was exploring his homosexuality on the hookup app when he met Thurling.
The two met and had sex around eight times before Thurling started threatening him.
Thurling told him he would put up posters outing him around Devon in southwest England unless he gave him £400 ($AU713).
The grandfather told the younger man he wouldn’t be able to raise the money. However Thurling continued, giving him several more days and raising the amount to £600 ($AU1069).
He demanded the grandfather to drop the cash at an agreed hiding place.
The terrified victim then went to the police. However, he was unable to identify the blackmailer because of their largely anonymous sex encounters, DevonLive reported.
In late January, police officers set up a sting to catch Thurling. The victim left an envelope filled with paper at the agreed drop-off point.
When Thurling retrieved it from the location, police caught him. A judge sentenced Thurling in a local court this week.
Grindr extortion plot caused ‘utmost anxiety and fear’
According to DevonLive, the judge told the man: “Having met initially on the internet, you threatened to expose his sexuality in a way calculated to cause him the utmost anxiety and fear.”
“With his family background, such a revelation would have turned his life upside down at a relatively late stage in his life.
“The psychological misery that would have resulted for him and others doesn’t bear calculating.”
However the judge allowed Thurling to walk free as the man admitted the Grindr extortion plot and showed remorse and psychological distress.
As well as the suspended sentence, Thurling was given 150 hours of community service and separate rehabilitation activities.
The judge also banned the man from contacting the victim, slapping him with an indefinite restraining order.
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