Man tried to blackmail Norfolk father with rape threat
A man has been found guilty of trying to blackmail a Norfolk father out of �1,000 by leaving a note threatening to rape his seven year-old daughter unless he paid up.
It was alleged that Scott Hedges, 43, left a note tucked under the windscreen of the car of the victim, claiming he had already raped four women, including two girls, and said that one more would not matter.
William Carter, prosecuting, said Hedges asked for the money to be left in a bin outside a convenience store.
When the victim contacted police they kept watch on the site and arrested Hedges after observing him acting suspiciously around the bin where the cash was supposed to be dropped off.
Hedges, who is a mental patient at the Norvic clinic, was found unfit to plead and did not attend Norwich Crown Court. The jury of eight women and four men took less than 30 minutes to find that Hedges, of Collingwood Road, Great Yarmouth, had committed the offence. Judge Martin Binning adjourned sentencing until March 15 so that reports could be made, but made Hedges the subject of an interim hospital order for 12 weeks.
The jury were told that when police searched Hedges' home they found A4 notebooks, in which was a reference to serious crimes including one headed 'my criminal record' in which he claimed he had raped four women. Mr Carter told the jury there was no suggestion that he had done anything criminal of this kind.
A forensic handwriting expert later compared the notes found at Hedges' home with the blackmail note and said there was very good support for them being written by the same person.
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The jury also heard there was strong support for Hedges having written another letter in 2008 which had been posted through another person's letterbox in which he said he was going to kill and rape a girl.
The defence offered no evidence in the case, but Jonathan Goodman, defending, in his speech to the jury, said: 'The person who found the note didn't see anyone leave it, so you have no direct evidence of Scott Hedges putting something under the windscreen wiper.
'We simply don't know who put that note there by any evidence brought by the crown.'