Belfast Telegraph

Web plot blackmail accused are bailed

BY ALAN ERWIN

A businessman allegedly tricked into sending compromising pictures of himself was told his family life would be ruined if he did not pay blackmail money, the High Court heard.

The victim faced demands for up to £12,000 in cash over photos and texts which formed part of a suspected online dating trap, prosecutors claimed.

He was told the pictures would be sent to his wife if he did not pay up.

Details emerged as a man and woman accused of being part of the plot were granted bail. Margaret Bowman (34), of Riverside South, Castledawson, and Philip McClelland (24), from Sunderland Road, Belfast, are both charged with making demands for cash with menaces. They were granted bail.

The Coleraine-based businessman, identified only as Witness A, made contact with someone using the name Sarah on an internet dating site. He arranged a meeting at a Belfast hotel and took compromising photos of himself which he sent to a mobile phone.

It was claimed the demands for cash then began to be made.

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