Gambler blackmailed 75-year-old friend to pay off debts

Steven Anson – Picture from West Midlands Police
A cruel gambler befriended then blackmailed a 75-year-old widower in an effort to pay off his gaming debts.
Steven Anson, 32, threatened to spread rumours the pensioner used prostitutes in order to extort cash from his former friend.
He had already borrowed £300 from his victim before the pensioner refused any further loans.
Resorting to blackmail, Anson forced his victim to hand over another £400.
Birmingham Crown Court heard how Anson, of Charlton Road, Kingstanding, even signed a promise to his elderly victim to stop blackmailing him, only to make further threats.
Pleading guilty to blackmail, Anson, who has a young daughter and a stepson, was jailed for two years and two months.
Judge Mary Stacy told the callous crook; “Blackmail is a nasty crime and the victim in this case was particularly vulnerable.

Queen Elizabeth II Law Courts
“He was a 75-year-old widower.
“He trusted you and handed over money, then more money and it was after that you started blackmailing him.
“You bombarded him with text messages and threw stones at his window.
Alex Warren, prosecuting, said Anson first befriended his victim around a year before the offence took place.
He had undertaken odd jobs for the pensioner and his wife before she died.
It was in May this year Anson asked his friend for a loan of £100.
Shortly after he asked for a further £200 which the elderly man handed over.
Mr Warren said; “By August 2 the defendant asked for another £150.
“He said he was in debt and people were coming to knock his door down.
“By this point the complainant refused and the defendant began to blackmail him.
“(Anson) said if (the complainant) didn’t pay him the money he would tell people the complainant paid for prostitutes.
“He was concerned about rumours being spread about him that were not true.
“Because of the threat he lent the defendant the money.”
Using the same threat, Anson asked for another £200 the following week, which was paid.
Mr Warren went on; “He promised that would be the last time but later that day he called up saying he was in a desperate position because of gambling debts.
“He asked for another £50.”
The victim again handed over the cash but only after getting Anson to sign a note saying; “I promise not to blackmail (the victim) for more money.”
It was then the pensioner went to police and made a report on August 11.
A week later Anson bombarded his victim with text messages threatening to tell people the pensioner was a pervert.
The court heard Anson had 13 previous convictions for 21 offences including robbery, burglary and stealing from employers.
Judge Stacy told him; “There are two slightly similar examples of theft when in a position of trust that demonstrates a pattern of behaviour.
“It is my duty to imprison you, it is also my duty to keep the sentence as short as I can within the seriousness of the offence.”
Carl Templar-Vasey, defending, said; “He realises the stupid mistake he made, it was a difficult time for him.
“He lost his grandmother who cared for him when he was a child and he started to binge drink.
“He recognises the effect this would have had on the complainant and knows it was a mean, and frankly, nasty thing to do.”
Anson was also ordered to pay the £900 criminal courts charge.

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