£30k blackmail plot leads to jail for duo

editorial image

A thug who tried to blackmail a businessman for £30,000 before attacking a father and son has been jailed for five years.

Billy Severgnini, 20, of Shenley Lodge, was sentenced to five years at a young offender institution at Northampton Crown Court on Monday after he admitted he had tried to blackmail a businessman for cash.

The court heard the victim had been subjected to an armed robbery in October 2011, when he was threatened with a gun at his Northampton home

Four months later he started getting threatening text messages suggesting he would be targeted if he did not pay £30,000 the following day.

One message said: “We are watching you and your mum, we have been for some time.”

The messages demanded he take the cash to Pink Punters nightclub, adding: “Bring the cash if you know what is good for you.”

However, the victim went to police, who worked out the phones were topped up in certain shops, then identified Severgnini as the blackmailer through CCTV. The impact of the robbery and the blackmail plot saw the victim sell his house, because he “no longer felt safe at home.”

Severgnini was also sentenced with Richard Michie, 23, of Netherfield, for an assault on a father and son in Northampton. The court heard the men knocked on the door of a house in Crestwood Gardens at 12.30am, on August 6 last year before Severgnini punched and kicked the owner’s son in an “unprovoked attack.”

The victim’s father, then chased Michie and wrestled with him to the ground. In the struggle the father’s leg was broken.

Severgnini, who has two children aged five and four, also admitted ABH and using violence to enter a property,

Michie admitted ABH, GBH, using violence to enter a property and possession of cannabis. He was jailed for three years.

Judge Michael Fowler said: “You are both from backgrounds that involve disruptive education and damaged upbringings that have left the legacy.”

Addressing Severgnini, he said: “It was a blackmail that involved the use of the threat of force, indeed the threat to kill, vague though it was, by suggesting that a firearm would be used and that the victim and his mother would not meet again.”