A BLACKMAILER who sent text messages demanding money and making threats has been spared jail.
The victim had warned Arron Rudd, 23, he would expose him if the threats did not stop, Teesside Crown Court was told.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, alleged there had been some intimacy between him and Rudd was embarrassed that somebody might find out, said prosecutor Jenny Haigh.
Rudd began a blackmail campaign despite the man’s assurance he had not said anything to anyone.
In August, Rudd sent the man a text message saying: “I want one hundred quid from you or your Merc’s getting smashed to bits, you crossed the line you said you would not cross.”
His victim replied: “I’ve got all your threatening texts and if something happens to any of my property I’m going to the police.
“I suggest that you sober up and stop being a Neanderthal”.
Rudd responded: “I’m going to smash your face in and bring you down”, and he then said: “The car’s been done over”.
The victim found his Mercedes car had been damaged with a brick, and Rudd sent a further text saying there would be repercussions if he did not get money from the man by 1pm.
Miss Haigh said that the man then went to the police and Rudd admitted “It was in drink”.
She added: “He said he was angry and upset because there had been acrimony over a secret that he felt had been divulged.”
The victim’s personal statement, which was read out in court, stated: “I feel aggrieved that I will have to pay for my car for no reason”.
The man said the repair quote for his car was £250 and it had not yet been fixed.
Rudd, from Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to blackmail between August 27 and 31, and damaging property on August 30.
Liam O’Brien, mitigating, said it was clearly a mean and nasty offence but it had been committed by an unsophisticated young man.
He said that he conceded that it crossed the custodial threshold, but he asked the judge to consider suspending it.
Judge Les Spittle told Rudd: “Whatever it was that caused the fall out it did not merit this offence.
“This offence in my view did cross the custody threshold and a prison sentence is appropriate but having regards to the content of the pre-sentence report I think the public interest is best served by suspending it.”
Rudd, of Seaton Lane, , was given a 12-month jail sentence suspended for two years with supervision and an alcohol activity requirement and ordered to pay £250 compensation.