Blackmailer tried to 'terrify' showbiz star, says judge
Police are continuing to investigate after a blackmailer tried to "terrify" a well-known figure in the entertainment business in a bid to exhort money, a High Court judge has said.
Mr Justice Nicklin on Thursday described the blackmailer's behaviour as "extraordinary" when analysing the case at a High Court hearing in London.
He was told that the blackmailer's target, a man who has not been named but identified only as LJY, had run up lawyers' bills of more than £25,000 after taking legal action to protect himself.
The judge said the blackmailer, who had accused LJY of "serious criminal misconduct", would pick up those bills if traced.
Detail of the case emerged after a hearing before a different High Court judge, Mr Justice Warby, in December.
He had made an order barring the blackmailer from publishing allegations of "serious criminal misconduct".
The judge said LJY was "well-known to the public as a result of his work in the entertainment business".
He said LJY's representatives had received a letter which gave no clue to the writer's identity but purported to be from a "highly discreet organisation".
The letter claimed that one of its "clients" had alleged that LJY had committed a "very serious" criminal offence against her some years ago but did not give any details.
It said the story was highly convincing and "would be similarly convincing to the authorities or the press".
The letter suggested that the alleged offence caused the "client" to lose out on financial opportunities and sought "financial recompense" of £50,000.
Mr Justice Nicklin examined a number of legal issues at a follow-up hearing - listed as "LJY v Persons Unknown".
He said a police investigation was on-going and added: "This is an extraordinary example of the behaviour of somebody who has set out to essentially terrify an individual by making threats in order to extort money."
Barrister Jacob Dean, who is leading LJY's legal team, said his client had run up more than £25,000 in lawyers' bills.
Mr Justice Nicklin made an order requiring the blackmailer to pay those bills.