A prolific blackmailer has been jailed for more than five years after pleading guilty to 15 counts of extortion.
Stephen Walker, 55, of Roding Lane North, Woodford Green, was sentenced at Inner London Crown Court on 11 October after committing a series of crimes between October last year and May 2018.
Scheming Walker was eventually arrested by City Police officers on 22 May after trying to intimidate a well-known business, which has its headquarters here in the Square Mile.
Walker sent a letter addressed to the company CEO demanding £150,000, and threatened to sell on the personal details of one million of the organisation’s customers if funds were not transferred.
A phone number was provided for the bank to contact the blackmailer, but instead the CEO reached out to City Police officers who, with colleagues from the National Crime Agency and after a thorough investigation, arrested Walker at his home.
A number of items were seized, including copies of the letters sent to a wide range of victims.
The claims in these letters varied in nature, from the threat of kidnap of family members, to the release of damaging information – all of which appeared to be false from police investigations.
Intelligence checks on the phone used by Walker in the City case provided evidence which linked the handset to numerous blackmail offences that had occurred within other parts of the UK, predominantly in London.
It is not known if Walker made a financial gain from his criminality.
Detective Constable Yagmur Koz from City of London Police said: “This sentence shows that, while offences of this nature may seem intimidating, they can be investigated and offenders can be brought to justice.
“We have worked closely with the Metropolitan Police and the National Crime Agency so we could uncover the true depth of Walker’s offending and we hope this sentence brings some comfort to his victims.
“We would encourage any individual or organisation which finds themselves in a similar position to report it to their local police force immediately – don’t keep it a secret.”
Walker pleaded guilty to 15 counts in total, two counts on City of London jurisdiction, and the remainder on Metropolitan Police Service.