Whitehaven couple jailed over 'humiliating' blackmail

A couple who subjected a man to "extreme humiliation" have been jailed.

Bradley Clayton and Chloe Sinton, from Whitehaven, Cumbria, forced their victim to strip and demanded £2,500.

Clayton threatened to stab the man and Sinton posted on Snapchat offering viewers "£10 to do what you want to him".

Clayton, 24, was jailed for four years and Sinton, 22, for three years, after admitting false imprisonment and blackmail.

Carlisle Crown Court heard the victim had spent the weekend of 30 September 2022, in the couple's company and there had been no issues.

However, when the man returned to the house on 2 October, he was almost immediately attacked with punches and stamps to the face.

During an ordeal that lasted more than five hours, Clayton threatened the man with a knife and vowed to stab him, the court heard.

He and Sinton then demanded cash after forcing their victim to strip to his underwear.

The court heard the victim was told to call his dad at one point.

Prosecutor Megan Cox said: "In the background of that call, the following can be heard: 'I've got your son. He's been a silly boy. He's naked. He owes me £2,500'."

After Clayton and Sinton, both of George Street, learned police were being called, their victim was released.

'Victim effectively tortured'

Clayton had a previous conviction for armed robbery as a juvenile following a post office raid featuring a weapon.

Sean Harkin, defending, said: "Fortunately there is no physical injury (to the man).

"I accept from the victim personal statement there would be some psychological traumas to him."

Kim Whittlestone, for Sinton, spoke of exposure to chronic trauma in her past, and suggested she was a vulnerable adult subject to the influence of others.

During Friday's sentencing, Recorder Paul Hodgkinson concluded the victim was "effectively being tortured" and subjected to "extreme humiliation", adding: "He must have been terrified."

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