A man who threatened to expose his victims’ homosexuality if they did not give him money has been jailed for four and a half years.

Lee Taylor, 20, of no fixed address, targeted a company boss whose family were unaware he was gay and told another man he would accuse him of rape.

Worcester crown court heard that he would target men cottaging in Gueluvelt Park and inside the city’s cathedral, the Halesowen News reports.

The businessman he blackmailed was forced to hand over hundreds of pounds over a seven-month period. Taylor also told him he would tell the man’s customers he was a gay sex attacker if he did not hand over money.

The victim went to police last July after Taylor threatened to hurt his friend. When Taylor approached him a month later to ask for more money, he was arrested and released on bail.

Taylor then met another man on an internet dating site and went to his house in March this year for sex. Afterwards, he demanded payment, warned the man he knew how to hurt people and threatened to shout rape out of a window. The victim then handed over £45.

Taylor pleaded guilty to guilty to five counts of blackmail, sparing his victims the need to appear in court.

In defence, his solicitor Michael Aspinall said Taylor had personal problems such as self-harm and a split personality, and needed money for food and accommodation after his mother threw him out.