A Poundland worker who blackmailed an ex he met through Instagram with explicit photos has been jailed for two years.
Carl Harvey, 27, from Bradford, tortured his victim over a five month period threatening to send photographs she had shared to her family.
In total the student sent bitter Harvey £809 in 95 separate cash transactions.
Birmingham Crown Court heard how she had been left so worried about his threats she had dropped out of university unable to concentrate on her studies.
Jailing Harvey, of Linden Avenue, Bradford, for two years after he admitted blackmail, Judge Richard Bond said: “For reasons I don’t fully understand you thought it appropriate in order to obtain money to blackmail the victim.
“You threatened her with sending messages…you would send photographs of an explicit nature of her to her family.
“You knew she would believe it.
“Blackmail is a really ugly offence, you utterly betrayed that relationship.”
Howard Searle, prosecuting, said Harvey and the woman met through photo sharing site Instagram before agreeing to meet and starting a relationship.
He said the pair would see each other every couple of weeks until they split in May last year.
It was then Harvey threatened his then ex with the release of explicit photographs exchanged during the course of their relationship.
Judge Bond went on; “Over five months she made 95 separate transactions of money to you totalling £809.
“In the scheme of blackmail it is not the largest amount this court has to deal with.
“But I can’t ignore the fact she made so many transfers over a sustained period of time.
“All the time these threats were hanging over her head.
“Blackmail is a very nasty offence and a serious view is always taken of it.
“It is so easy to commit and instil fear in the victim.”
When arrested, Harvey told cops he had deleted the messages and never intended to publish them.
But the judge said: “That is no comfort to the victim at the time you were blackmailing her because she believed you would pass the photos to whomever, especially her family.
“She gave you money she could ill afford.”
Satvir Aujla, defending, said Harvey was hardworking, had a new partner who he was expecting a child with and had taken on the role of step-father to her one-year-old child.
But locking up the Poundland worker, Judge Bond said; “Blackmail strikes utter terror into the heart of the victim, you knew that.
“If this was a case of a one-off demand I may be in a position to suspend the sentence but I’m afraid in your case
I can’t do that because of the persistence of offending.”
Ms Aujla said Harvey was sorry for what he had put his ex through and had repaid £562 of the money to his victim.
She said: “There had been a relationship and there was an uneasy break-up.
“This has caused turmoil for him, his family and his (new) girlfriend.
“He says he is sorry for putting her through that ordeal and it was an immature thing to do.”