Man blackmailed ex-lover's frail mother in £10,000 plot

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A welder tried to blackmail his former partner’s frail mother out of £10,000 by threatening to report her for benefit fraud.

David Ward, 32, believed 60-year-old Christine Anne Gullefer had not done enough to support him, her daughter or their child financially and demanded money to clear his debts.

Inner London crown court heard Ward turned up at Mrs Gullefer’s home in Clapham a week after splitting up with her daughter. 

He demanded a slice of her savings and later texted his ex “I want £10,000 off your mum or I’m taking her to the cleaners”, adding: “I’m not greedy, she’s got a lot of money.” He threatened: “If you call the police your mum will go to prison.”

Prosecutor Peter Lancaster said Mrs Gullefer, who suffers from various health problems and receives benefits, was left “in fear and intimidated” by the confrontation at her home on May 13. “[Ward] said he wanted to speak about her daughter and naively she let him in and said she did not want to get involved,” he said. “[Ward] raised his voice and said he wanted £10,000 and gave her until 6pm or he would contact social services and say she made false claims.”

Judge Usha Karu said Ward had a “sense of entitlement” as she sentenced him to 12 months in prison suspended for two years and ordered him to carry out 150 hours of community service.

“This lady has some significant health issues and you took advantage of that by threatening to report her for making a false claim,” she told him.

Ward, of Brixton, pleaded guilty to blackmail.


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