A woman who blackmailed a man over a sex photo after creating a fake Facebook profile has been spared prison.
Sharon Jones, 45, from Caerphilly, created a fake Facebook profile in December 2020 and added her victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and started to make friendly chit chat with him.
A sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court heard how the conversation between Jones and the man eventually became sexual.
Prosecuting on behalf of the crown, Mr Owen Williams read the facts about the case, and told how the fake profile suggested that the victim should video himself masturbating.
The victim created the sexually explicit video of him masturbating and sent it to the fake profile, not knowing it was Ms Jones.
Days later, the victim received a text message from Ms Jones and an argument began. Ms Jones then revealed that she was the person behind the fake Facebook account and threatened to send the video of the victim to his children, Facebook friends and work colleagues.
The victim pleaded with the defendant not to do so, but the victim replied: “If you don’t want me to show anyone the video you will pay me £1,000. I will give you until tomorrow.”
She threatened to share the video with his family and friends on Christmas Day if the money was not sent. On December 18, the victim reported the case of blackmail to the police and the defendant was arrested.
Mr Williams told the court: “Jones accepted that she created the Facebook account and accepted that she asked the victim to send her the funds. She said she was sorry and that she should not have done it.”
Jones pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing at Cardiff Crown Court. An offence of blackmail almost always carries an immediate custodial sentence.
In mitigation, defence counsel Mr Andrew Kendall said: “If this is not a case that has exception to the general rule there is not one.”
Mr Kendall explained that Ms Jones is the soul carer to her 24-year-old son who has autism, and also cares for her sister who suffers with seizures and her father who has early onset dementia.
He explained that she has no other convictions and does not present as a threat to the public. He added that she suffers with mental health issues.
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In his sentencing remarks, Judge Jeremy Jenkins said: “Claims of blackmail are a very serious matter. This must have taken some degree of planning to produce this fake profile and to text him initially friendly but shortly thereafter the conversation became sexual.
“In this particular case it is accepted that it carries the custody threshold and that a prison sentence is appropriate, the only factor for me to consider is your personal circumstances as to whether suspend that term.
“I have given that great consideration to this particular case and come to the view that I can suspend the sentence and I do so because of what I have read about your situation. You should have thought about that when you were committing this offence.”
Judge Jenkins gave Jones a 14 month sentence suspended for 18 months. Jones, of Waunllwyn Cresent, Caerphilly was ordered to pay £500 in court costs.