Man jailed over 'despicable' blackmail of woman working as an escort
- Credit: Norfolk Constabulary
A woman who worked as an escort while in financial difficulties was blackmailed by a man who threatened to expose her, a court has heard.
The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, met Philip Eyley, 46, while she worked as an escort on an adult internet site in 2018.
Norwich Crown Court heard the woman was working as an escort due to "financial difficulties" but Eyley offered to give her £1,000 as a gift.
Ian James, prosecuting, said the victim insisted she would repay the money back and the relationship remained "amicable" until April 2020.
Eyley, of Plumstead Road, Norwich, started to "pass judgement" about her past.
The victim terminated the friendship but in August 2020 Eyley demanded the "return of all the gifts he had given her".
At the end of February last year she got a voicemail asking for £1,000 back stating "I don't want to hurt anyone but I can't promise I won't".
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On March 4, there was another message stating Eyley wanted the money repaid or he would tell her employer about her escort work.
He also threatened to tell Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and that she would "suffer the consequences".
The victim paid the money back but received another voicemail the next day asking for a further £500 to cover the cost of gifts and meals.
On March 8 she received another message from Eyley who said: "You've clearly decided not to pay back the £500 you swindled out of me.
"I don't feel inclined to keep your wrongdoing secret any longer."
The victim contacted police and Eyley was arrested but refused to make any comment.
A statement from the victim read in court described the "desperate situation" she was in when she met him and stated "he took advantage of that".
On Wednesday (July 6) Eyley, who previously admitted blackmail, was jailed for 28 months.
Judge Andrew Shaw said Eyley had behaved in a "despicable" manner.
Judge Shaw said he had taken "shameful advantage" of the victim who he had caused "severe psychological harm" by threatening to "expose embarrassing material" about her.
Andrew Oliver, mitigating, said Eyley had pleaded guilty and urged the court to give the appropriate credit.
He said: "It's clear he felt he had been wronged and felt bitter and upset and felt he had been taken advantage of and used."
A restraining order was also imposed prohibiting Eyley from contacting the victim indefinitely, either directly or indirectly.