Fraudster and former chatline addict facing jail for blackmail of company boss

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

A fraudster who tried to blackmail a business out of £20,000 soon after serving a jail sentence has been warned he may go back to prison.

Anthony Brumwell threatened to publicise a previous criminal conviction unless the director of a company gave him money.

Brumwell hatched the plot soon after his release from prison for attempting to con £10,400 out of an energy company, and for rinsing his grandmother’s savings accounts of £15,000, Teesside Crown Court heard.

He spent the cash on chatlines to which he was addicted at the time.

Following his release from a sentence of three years and two months, Brumwell targeted his next victim in a series of threatening emails.

Brumwell, 34, of East Street, Blackhall Colliery, initially denied blackmail by demanding money with menaces between July and September of 2016.

He pleaded guilty on the day his trial was due to start.

Julian White, defending, said: “The court will be assisted by a report from the Probation Service before sentence is passed.

“Mr Brumwell also has a suspected growth on the brain, for which he is due to be seen by a consultant.

“His medical condition and prognosis will be of interest to the court.”

Judge Stephen Ashurst ordered the reports, and adjourned passing sentence until June 26.

The judge told Brumwell: “You have had the good sense to plead guilty in the face of overwhelming evidence, albeit late in the day.

“You may have bail while the reports are being prepared, but that is not an indication of the likely sentence.

“Blackmail is always a serious matter, and you have relevant previous convictions.

“This latest offence happened not long after you were released from your last sentence.

“That is something which will be of concern to the sentencing judge.”

Brumwell was bailed on condition he does not contact any of the witnesses in the case against him.