A woman who fleeced an elderly man out of £40,000 has walked free from court.
Sharon Mincher already had more than 100 convictions on her record when she targeted the man, Teesside Crown Court heard.
“When the victim attempted to refuse her requests for money she threatened to report him for rape,” said Paul Reid, prosecuting.
“She said she needed the money for drugs.”
The court heard the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, faced financial difficulties and has been left with credit card debts.
Mincher, 45, of Church Street, Hartlepool, admitted blackmail and stalking.
The court heard she has a previous conviction for blackmail, three previous convictions for fraud, and 109 previous convictions for theft.
Rod Hunt, defending, said in mitigation: “There are two sides to the story.
“For the complainant, it was about sex, although it was a complex, shambolic and strange relationship.
“Ms Mincher no longer earns her living in the way she used to, if I can put it neutrally. Since this offence, she has turned her life around and has been engaging more with drugs support workers in Hartlepool than ever before. She is no longer raddled and underweight.
“People who know her well say she is looking the best she has looked for 20 years.”
The Recorder, Mr David Dobbin, sentenced Mincher to two years in prison, suspended for two years, including a drug rehabilitation treatment and testing programme.
The recorder told her: “This was serious offending committed over a long period of time, against a vulnerable man who felt unable to resist you as some might.
“You have since made efforts to seek treatment for your drugs problems.
“The Probation Service, who know you well, confirm the advances you have made.
“It is because of those efforts that I can suspend the inevitable prison sentence.”
Mincher was made the subject of a restraining order banning her indefinitely from contacting her victim.