A penniless dad, who tried to blackmail his ex-mother-in-law out of £10,000 by threatening to report her for benefit fraud, received a suspended prison sentence today.
David Ward, 32, had a “sense of entitlement” to the 60 year-old woman’s cash, feeling she had done little to financially assist him and his family.
He sent his ex texts including: ‘I want £10,000 off your mum or I’m taking her to the cleaners’, ‘I’m not greedy, she’s got a lot of money’ and ‘If you call the police your mum will go to prison.’
Ward, of Lyham Road, Brixton pleaded guilty to one count of blackmailing Christine Anne Gullefer on May 13 at her home in Felmersham Close, Clapham.
“You must have known you were not entitled to that ten thousand pounds even though it’s said you had a sense of entitlement,” Recorder of Southwark Judge Usha Karu told him.
Inner London Crown Court heard Ward, who has since obtained a welding job, owed £2,600 in rent, plus council tax.
Prosecutor Mr. Peter Lancaster told the court Ward had a seven-year on-off relationship with the victim’s daughter and the couple have a three year-old son.
The court heard they split in May due to the daughter’s infidelity and Ward turned up on the widow mother’s doorstep a week later.
“The victim has health issues, depression and asthma and receives income support a disability living allowance.
“He said he wanted to speak about her daughter and naively she let him in and said she did not want to get involved.
“He raised his voice and said he wanted ten thousand pounds and gave her until six pm or he would contact social services and say she made false claims.
“He said she had not financially supported him, her daughter or their child.”
The victim immediately contacted the police. “When the officers arrived at her house she was in fear and felt intimidated.”
She revealed Ward previously accompanied her to the bank and knew she had savings.
His lawyer Mr. Robin Ghosh told the court: “The complainant was fairly well to do in his eyes and he felt this was unfair.”
Judge Karu sentenced Ward to twelve months imprisonment, suspended for two year and ordered him to complete 150 hours community service work.
“This lady has some significant health issues and you took advantage of that by threatening to report her for making a false claim,” she told him.
“You had been to the bank with the mother and knew she did have some savings.
“She must have been shocked and frightened when in her distressed state a young man turned up on her doorstep and demanded money.”