Ireland has its very own sex, lies and videotape trial after a builder was convicted of blackmailing his married lover.
Alan Custy, a 35-year-old construction company boss from the Clare town of Ennis, received a three year suspended sentence after admitting the offence.
Ennis Circuit Court heard that Custy claimed that he had recorded video footage of the pair enjoying ‘intimate moments’ in his 4x4 jeep.
The builder threatened to expose the wife’s affair to her husband unless she paid him over $20,000.
Instead she went to the police who arrested and charged father of three Custy with blackmail. Officers found no secret camera in the keep and he later admitted there was no footage or camera.
The pair, who were both in relationships at the time, met via the dating website smooch.com, the Ennis Court heard.
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Judge Carroll Moran imposed the suspended jail term and told the defendant “What you did was a nasty thing to do.”
Custy had pleaded guilty to seeking the money with menace from the woman on dates between July 14 and July 19, 2010.
Police told the court that the two met over a period of 10 days in July 2010 after meeting on the smooch.com website
The court also heard that Custy had told the woman that he was single, didn’t have any children and gave her a wrong Ennis address.
“There were several text messages when this money was to be handed over to him and the amount required,” explained a police officer.
Custy told police that he needed money to pay the taxman.
“Mr Custy at first stated that it was a joke, that he didn’t intend it going this far, that he didn’t intend for it to turn into blackmail. He admitted that he did send the messages and he did co-operate with us,” said the officer.
Lawyer for the defendant, Brian McInerney said: “This is a rather bizarre case, I would respectfully submit. It is highly unusual and a matter involving two attached persons that got out of control.
“He (the accused) doesn’t know what took hold of him to lead to this particular exchange of text messages. It has created some considerable difficulties with his partner.
“The blackmail took place over a very short and concentrated burst and came to a very swift end when police got involved. Mr Custy gave a very early indication of guilt.
“He made full and detailed admissions. Given the nature of evidence, the accused will find himself subject of considerable discussion amongst the general public tomorrow and in the days ahead thereafter.
“That will be a very significant embarrassment for him. It is an unpleasant matter for all. Neither accused, society or victim will benefit from his incarceration. He apologises unreservedly to the victim of the crime.”
Judge Carroll Moran said: “Blackmail is an insidious crime. It is mean and it can have appalling consequences for the victim.”
Judge Moran suspended the sentence. Custy entered a bond that he have no contact with the injured party and be of good behaviour.