A BLACKMAILER has been jailed after extorting money out of his victim by threatening to publish intimate, sexual videos and pictures.

Sam Breeze, who has a history of mental health and drug issues, repaid the couple with his blackmail threats after they helped to look after him following a suicide attempt in 2018.

He was taken into their home when he was released from hospital after being in a coma fighting for his life, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Paul Rooney, prosecuting, said Breeze was looked after by the couple but they kicked him out when he started to take drugs again and that was when he came up with the blackmail scheme to get money out of them.

The 25-year-old, pictured below, first targeted his victims in October 2018 when he returned home to Redcar and demanded £100 or he would publish the indecent images.

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Mr Rooney said: “The victim had no idea how he got hold of the videos and pictures – one refused to pay but one paid out of fear of them being published.”

The money was transferred to the defendant’s bank account but his promise to send the files proved to be a lie when he sent them an empty memory stick and he demanded a further £70 instead.

Just days later, Breeze contacted them again and demanded a further £130 and £10 for posting the images to the couple – again one of the victims answered his demands.

“On December 27, he contacted them again and demanded more money and this time the victims decided that enough was enough and contacted the police,” said Mr Rooney.

“They assisted him when he was in a very dark time in the defendant’s life and this is how he repaid them.”

Breeze, of Crescent Road, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to three charges of blackmail and one of attempted blackmail while a further charge of misuse of a computer was left on file after he entered a not guilty plea.

He continually attempted to interrupt proceedings and at one point told the judge that he no longer wanted the goods returning to him he believed he owed money for.

In mitigation, Nicci Horton said Breeze suffered from drug-induced psychosis and believed he was trying to recover money owed to him.

“He never had any images at all,” she said. “The image on the phone, Sam Breeze doesn’t know who it was because the person has never been identified – he used it to suggest to the victim how serious he was.”

She added: “This wasn’t malicious revenge. It was an inept attempt to get the money back that he was owed following a breakdown in his relationship with the victims.”

Judge Deborah Sherwin branded Breeze’s offences ‘nasty and unpleasant’ as she jailed him for two years.

“To threaten to publish images of other people which are indecent is a very nasty and unpleasant thing to do,” she said.