A NORTH Antrim woman who made “ugly and repetitive demands” for money from a retired police officer after he sent her intimate pictures has been jailed.
Ordering Jennifer Tinney (50) to serve half her 29 month sentence in jail and half on licence, Judge Roseanne McCormick KC warned that blackmail “is always a serious offence because it prays upon the soul of the victim…deterrent sentences have to be passed".
Despite admitting her guilt in the £10,000 extortion where she “wanted the victim to suffer,” the judge told Antrim Crown Court it was clear that Tinney still sought to “minimise her behaviour,” has shown a “lack of insight” into the impact of her cruel offending and may still “harbour feelings of resentment” towards her victim.
Having heard that a social media profile bearing the defendants name and image identified the retired officer after the story appeared in the Sunday papers, Tinney was also handed a five year restraining order barring her from contacting him or from mentioning his name online.
Tinney, from from Gordonville Park in Ballymoney, had entered a guilty plea a charge of blackmail in that between 15-30 January 2020, she “made unwarranted demands of money with menaces” and to converting the cash she received from her victim.
Summarising the case during her sentencing remarks, the judge outlined how the victim, who knew Tinney from his previous career, “had consumed a few drinks” when he decided to send her a Facebook friend request.
Initially, there was a series of flirty texts and he sent her two intimate images of himself.
The following day the texting took a much more sinister turn and for the next two weeks, "he was subjected to continued blackmail by the defendant".
Writing messages as though they came from someone else, Tinney told the retired officer he had to “cough up compensation money to prevent the photos being published on social media” and in the Sunday papers.
Having transferred a total of £10,000 to Tinney over the two weeks, it was when she demanded a further £5,000 that the victim finally alerted the police.
When they searched Tinney‘s home officers seized just over £2,500 and along with £2,800 frozen in her bank account, those sums have been handed back.
Arrested and questioned, Tinney admitted her involvement in the blackmail but while the victim claimed Tinney was flirting and encouraging with him in the initial text messages, she “denied sending any sexual messages".
Judge McCormick said it was clear that while the extortion plot began opportunistically, “she used a number tactics to ensure fear and I consider that she did so in an attempt to obtain increasing amounts of money".