Former Irish League player denies kidnapping and blackmail charges
A former high-profile loyalist charged with kidnapping and blackmail told police the alleged victim was trying to recruit his friend to be a prostitute, the High Court heard today.
Darren Moore denies claims he demanded a £10,000 "fine" from the man and stole jewellery during a raid on his home.
Granting bail to the 49-year-old accused, Mr Justice Colton said: "This is a most bizarre case."
Moore, an ex-Irish league footballer from Ballynure Road in Ballyclare, also faces charges of burglary and driving while disqualified.
Prosecutors said Moore and an unidentified associate turned up at the alleged victim's Co Antrim home on January 29 this year.
The man claimed they asked if he had visited an escort at a house on Belfast's Crumlin Road the previous week.
He was also questioned about whether he was a pimp and if he ran a brothel, according to the Crown case.
The court heard the man was allegedly informed: "Here's your fine, her brother is high up, you're going to be sorry."
It was claimed that a demand for £10,000 was made, or £5,000 if he could get the money that day.
Moore and the other man were said to have driven him to an ATM machine where he withdrew £90 before being brought back to his home.
Prosecution counsel claimed they then ransacked the property, taking jewellery from a safe, and telling him to ask friends or neighbours for money.
During police interviews Moore said he had confronted the man about his behaviour towards a female family friend, the court heard.
Defence counsel Kelly Doherty said: "He made the case that he attended the complainant's house because the complainant had been attempting to recruit her (to work as a prostitute)."
She disclosed that the PSNI are investigating claims the alleged blackmail victim sent the woman text messages telling her he was both a pimp and a police officer.
With Moore said to have complied with previous compassionate releases to visit his ill father, Mr Justice Colton granted full bail on strict conditions.
He ordered the accused to abide by a curfew, report to police three times a week and banned him from entering the town where the alleged victim lives.
Belfast Telegraph Digital