I was protecting royal from sexual predator, says blackmail accused
A man accused of blackmailing a member of the Royal Family told the Old Bailey yesterday that he was acting out of revenge against an employee who he claimed was a "gay sexual predator".
Ian Strachan, 31, and Belfast-born Sean McGuigan, 41, are both accused of demanding £50,000 to stop them selling tapes of alleged gay sex claims involving the royal.
But Mr Strachan said the taped allegations by a royal employee, known as witness D, were to warn the royal against that employee's predatory gay advances.
The two Londoners deny blackmailing the royal, known only as witness A.
Mr Strachan told the Old Bailey that he, in fact, liked the royal and "never" wished him any harm.
He said he was acting out of revenge against one of witness A's employees, whom he branded a "predatory homosexual" who drugged people to have sex with them. His aim was to ensure that the employee would be exposed, "get his come-uppance" and get the sack, he told the jury.
Mr Strachan's statements at London's Old Bailey marked the beginning of the third week of the trial, and the first time the court has heard from either of the accused. The court heard that the property developer, from Fulham, south-west London, had struck up a friendship with witness D in 2006.
But Mr Strachan described the man as subsequently revealing himself as a predatory homosexual who had tried to drug and assault not only himself but two of his friends as well.
The court heard that it had been the motivation for a plot hatched by Mr Strachan and his co-defendant, Mr McGuigan, of Battersea, south London, to record allegations the man had made about the royal.
Their aim, Mr Strachan said, was not to make any money but to get the employee into trouble and get him sacked.
Mr Strachan said the pair had even discussed outing witness D by publishing the tapes on YouTube.
But Mr Strachan described a conversation with a News of the World journalist who had told him the tapes would be worth between £25,000 and £50,000.
He went on to describe subsequent conversations with a friend of the royal, known as witness C.
The court heard that when Mr Strachan told witness C of the money he had been offered for the tapes, witness C offered him €73,000 (£57,000).
Jerome Lynch QC, representing Mr Strachan, asked his client: "Why wouldn't you have asked him for money?" in reference to witness C.
Mr Strachan replied: "Because that would have been blackmail."
Mr Lynch then asked him why he thought it was acceptable to make the tapes in the first place. Mr Strachan said: "The material was legally obtained."
Mr Strachan claimed to have known other members of the Royal Family before meeting Mr McGuigan.
Asked by Ronald Thwaites QC, defending Mr McGuigan, if he had met any royals of his own accord, he said that he had.
When asked to write them down, they were referred to as Z1, Z2 and Z3 because the rest of the alphabet had been taken up with royals already given codes during the trial.
Mr Strachan said he had "a conversation about horses" with Z1, and they had also met in a nightclub.
He said Z2 had played against him in a sport when he was younger and so "had frequent contact". He had met Z3 in a club.
Mr Strachan added: "Have I met them, have interacted – yes. Are they close friends – no."
Mr Strachan said he worked as a stylist and fashion journalist, having worked freelance for a magazine called Skin and for a Dubai publication. He said he falsely told people he had a law degree when trying to recover money owed to other stylists he represented.
The trial continues.