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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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Carlisle blackmailer is jailed for IRA hitman scam

A blackmailer has been jailed after he demanded thousands of pounds from two horse dealers by claiming to be a former IRA hit man who could shoot them.

Carlisle man Terrence McGinley, 31, extorted £3,000 from a farmer and then tried to get a further £5,000 from a smallholder using similar threats.

He told both men he could find them and shoot them if they refused to pay.

McGinley, of Freer Street, Denton Holme, is the younger brother of a man already in jail for identical blackmails which netted £1 million.

Terrence McGinley recruited farmer and part-time horse trader Joseph Beach to be his legman, identifying two victims who he terrified with blood-chilling threats.

He convinced them he could carry out his threats by organising a charade in which Beach rang a “contact” in Ireland who confirmed it.

Police phone checks showed the call went to McGinley himself. He later fled the country after being released on police bail and he was only arrested when he returned more than a year later.

He admitted conspiracy to blackmail and was jailed for four-and-a-half years by Recorder Jonathan Fuller QC at Exeter Crown Court.

Beach, from Sidcot, Winscombe, Somerset, was jailed for two-and-a-half years after being found guilty of the same offence.

The Recorder told McGinley: “Blackmail is an extremely nasty and ugly offence and you will know and understand the courts have top pass deterrent sentences on people such as you.

“Your particular brand of blackmail posed as debt enforcement, whether the debt was genuine or not did not matter to you and you targeted two horse dealers, one in his 50s, the other aged 75.

“You uttered nasty and frightening threats. I saw both men give evidence. It is not the amounts of money involved that make this case serious; it is the threats and their effect on those individuals.

“This was deeply unpleasant and caused terror in those victims.

“Your conduct was deliberate and calculated and contrived in the most advantageous way for you.

“The two men described the fear as chilling and gut-wrenching. You were sinister.

“You said you were a member of the IRA and a dangerous man and that you knew where they lived and would shoot them if necessary.

“It is no wonder that one of these men was frightened enough to get together the thousands of pounds you were demanding. The other, very sensibly, went to the police.”

David Sapiecha, prosecuting, said the two victims – one from Cornwall and the other from Weston-super-Mare – were horse dealers.

The first handed over £3,000 but went to the police when McGinley demanded another £9,000. The second was asked for £5,000 but reported it rather than paying.

Mr Sapiecha said: “This case involved the targeting of two wholly innocent people and nasty threats that were taken seriously and caused real fear.”

Edward Bailey, defending, said McGinley plans to settle down in Carlisle on his release with his wife and three children and find work as a landscape gardener on his release.

McGinley’s brother Dennis, 32, was jailed for eight years in 2010 for a series of identical blackmails.

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