A gay man who blackmailed his former lover for thousands of pounds has been jailed for four years.

Kriston Cook, 20, of Langley Road, North Shields, threatened to tell the family and friends of his ex-lover about their relationship if his victim did not hand over nearly £2,000.

Newcastle crown court heard that his victim, an older man, had been left suicidal by Cook’s actions.

The victim was driven to cashpoints on several occasions and forced to withdraw money. Cook also turned up at his workplace to demand cash.

He was caught when the man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, admitted the affair to his wife. His family then called the police to report the blackmail.

In a statement read out in court, the victim said: “I have struggled to such an extent that I have considered thoroughly committing suicide.

“I have been blackmailed to the point where I feel I no longer have a life.”

Cook, who broke down in tears while in the dock, admitted blackmail.

Judge Tony Lancaster told him: “Blackmail is an ugly offence and your behaviour in my view was repugnant.”