Anthony Still has been convicted at Chelmsford Crown Court of blackmailing a businessman who paid him £600,000 to stop him revealing details about a secret affair. The businessman, known in court as “Barnaby”, decided he could no longer go on paying and went to the police last year. Still was jailed for 11 years.
Chris McCann, head of the CPS East of England Complex Casework Unit said:
"Blackmail is a despicable crime as it preys on people's fears of having something made public that they want to keep secret. Paying a blackmailer is no guarantee the demands will stop - if anything the demands increase and the victim faces both the fear of exposure and keeping up the payments, as occurred in this case when £628,000 was paid .
"The only way to stop a blackmailer is to go to the police and I would like to reassure victims that if they do, we will do everything in our power to protect their identity from becoming public. It is not our role to do the blackmailer's job for them so that the victim is exposed through the court system.
"In this case we sought and were granted a lifelong anonymity order; the victim was known in court by the pseudonym of "Barnaby" and gave evidence from behind screens so they could not be seen. This is something we would do for any blackmail victim and was not just for this case.
"Victim and witness care is at the heart of what we do and this case demonstrates that blackmail victims can come forward and see justice done without fearing their identities will be revealed."