Mother-of-one escapes jail after threatening to ‘tell victim’s friends’ about £27 (€30) ‘personal preference’ video she agreed to film
Amber Lindsay walked free from Craigavon Crown Court on Friday after Judge Patrick Lynch KC imposed a 12 month jail sentence but suspended it for three years.
The 39-year-old blackmailer, from Killaire Woods in Bangor, had earlier confessed to a single count of blackmail on August 5, 2020 when she demanded an undisclosed amount of money from witness A “with menaces”.
Prosecuting counsel Nicola Auret told Friday’s court how the victim placed a personal advert on Craigslist “seeking a female to make a video tailored to his personal preference”.
“He got a response from the defendant and she agreed to make a video in the terms that he wanted,” explained the lawyer, adding that during email correspondence, they agreed a price of £27 (€30) and Lindsay provided her personal PayPal details.
“He did pay that and he expected to receive the video but nothing was received so he sent her another message asking for the material and he also told her that if he didn’t get it, he would raise the issue with PayPal,” Ms Auret added.
The victim sent another couple of messages asking for what had been agreed but instead Lindsay sent him a screen shot of his Facebook profile along with their mail exchange, threatening to “tell his friends about his online personal ad”.
“At 5.37pm she sent a message saying that she would be posting the information online in 10 minutes” and he received a PayPal request for £30 along with a message asking “well, are we going live or not”.
Agreeing to the demands, the victim sent £5 by PayPal having already paid £27 for the video but Lindsay told him “the price is up” and although she sent him a handful of further messages, the victim did not respond and instead, reported the matter to the police as “he was worried that the defendant would post his personal information online and the consequences of that”.
The bank details from PayPal led detectives to Lindsay who was then arrested and her mobile phone seized.
“She confirmed that she had sole use of her mobile phone and confirmed that she had in fact carried out the blackmail,” said Ms Auret.
She told the court that while Lindsay has a clear record, she had caused “stress and trauma” to the victim.
Judge Lynch revealed that during her interview with the probation board, Lindsay claimed she had two accomplices in her extortion plot and he questioned defence counsel Alan Stewart about it.
The barrister told the judge that while she told the cops she had acted alone, that had not been true and that she did have two accomplices. He told the court the mother-of-one, who works as an assistant manager in a fast food restaurant, “accepts that this was a nasty and ugly offence and has had a profound effect on the victim”.
At the time of the offence, the single mum was “experiencing significant financial difficulties” but he conceded that “isn’t an excuse — her acts are inexcusable.”
Stressing that the video the victim requested was “entirely legal,” Judge Lynch revealed that the man had suffered significant weight loss, emotional trauma, sleepless nights, stress and depression over a fear that his identity and his “idiosyncratic request” were to be made public.
While the “level of money here was astonishingly low,” the consequences for the victim had been much greater the judge told Lindsay.
Judge Lynch said while the case merited a 12 month jail sentence, “because of the factors that have been outlined” he suspended that for three years. Lindsay was also ordered to pay her victim £2,000 compensation amounting to £150 a month.
He warned Lindsay however that if she failed to pay, she faced a six month prison sentence in default.