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Gang jailed for £200k blackmail of farmer

By Tom Wilkinson

Published 19/02/2016

A blackmail gang who threatened to put a bullet in a wealthy farmer's head and forced him to pay out almost £200,000 in just 17 days have been jailed for up to seven years.

Police investigating brothers Dennis and Bernard McGinley and co-accused Christy Stokes discovered CCTV footage of Dennis's wife Bianca laden with designer label shopping bags after a trip to Harrods with some of the proceeds.

A judge told the men: "Such was your greed, such was your complete disregard for the effect upon this family, that no sooner had one payment been made that another demand was made, so money was handed over the same day or following days."

The court heard the North Yorkshire farmer lived in "abject fear" and, believed the lives of him and his family were under threat and so made a series of nine cash payments last August and September. He borrowed money from friends and family and even sold his tractor to be able to meet the gang's demands.

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