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Hartlepool man jailed for ‘madcap’ blackmail bid

The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.
The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

A disgruntled employee who was sacked for thieving from work tried to blackmail his former employers.

Anthony Brumwell was jailed for 18 months for theft, but soon after he was released from prison he threatened to reveal a conviction of a director of his former company unless he was paid £20,000.

Anthony Brumwell

Anthony Brumwell

The ‘madcap’ attempt at blackmail failed when Brumwell sent his own bank details for the money to be paid into.

“The background to the blackmail offence is Mr Brumwell’s 2014 conviction for theft from his employer,” said Paul Rooney, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court.

“He gave company customers his own bank details, telling them his account was the company’s new one, and their bills should be paid there.

“This deception was discovered, and Mr Brumwell was sentenced to 18 months in prison .

“In September, 2016, the company received an email from ‘whistle-blower@journalist,com’ demanding £20,000, or details of the director’s criminal conviction would be circulated to company customers.

“The email included details of a Barclays Bank account for the money to be paid into. Police were called and they traced the bank account to one held by Anthony Brumwell.”

The court heard Brumwell’s house was raided by officers.

He said: “They found a computer used by him. Examination of the computer’s email software showed it had also been used to send messages from the whistle-blower email account.”

Brumwell, 34, of East Street, Blackhall Colliery, admitted blackmail.

Nigel Soppitt, defending, said in mitigation: “This was a madcap scheme that was bound to fail, using as it did the same bank account details Mr Brumwell used to steal from the same company.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton jailed Brumwell for 27 months.

The judge told him: “This was a mean-spirited attempt at taking revenge on a company. The attempt may have been bound to fail, but it was also a determined attempt, and threats were made.

“Your plea of guilty on the day of trial means I can only give you limited credit against the inevitable custodial sentence.”