A bully boy IT executive who blackmailed a young female colleague by threatening to reveal intimate photographs of her, has been jailed for 18 months.
Steven Hallsworth kept up his cruel campaign for a year at the city call centre where the pair worked, a court heard.
The 38-year-old downloaded the saucy images after they were leaked online by the woman’s ex-boyfriend.
He then blackmailed her with anonymous texts, calling her a ‘slag’ and demanding: ‘Go on the game or give me money.’
Other texts threatened to send the photos to the victim’s mother, who was suffering with cancer at the time.
Hallsworth even had the cheek to comfort the distressed colleague when she confided in him about her mystery blackmailer.
Prosecutor Daniel Fugallo told Aylesbury Crown Court: “He (Hallsworth) was supportive in relation to these distressing texts... But, of course, he was the one sending them.
“The complainant started to suspect this apparent friend was the sender of the text messages because some of them mentioned private matters she had mentioned to him – like the fact she had become depressed because of the texts and had started taking medication.”
The court heard that Hallsworth was “clearly attracted” to the younger woman, but she had declined to go out for a drink with him.
The victim, who cannot be named for her own protection, eventually complained to police. Officers found all the evidence on Hallsworth’s phone and laptop.
He admitted sending the messages because he was drunk and feeling rejected after the breakdown of a relationship.
His defence lawyer insisted he was never after money but just wanted to make his colleague “feel bad”.
Judge, Francis Sheridan, told him: “You are a bully and you took advantage of this young girl...such is the seriousness of this crime. I sentence you to 18 months’ imprisonment.”