A man who blackmailed and threatened to out gay men he met on Grindr has been jailed for two and a half years.
Liam Hull, 22, was jailed after being told by a judge that he had committed “attempted murder of the soul”, reports Luton On Sunday.
He received thousands of pounds in blackmail money from his victims, some of who were married to women and had children, but were used Grindr to hook up with men.
One victim paid him thousands of pounds, and another came out to his wife after the threats.
A third suffered a mild stroke following the threats.
The perpetrator pleaded guilty to three counts of blackmail. He was told by Judge Richard Foster of the Former Chief Justice Lord Lane’s words on blackmail.
Judge Foster said: “Lord Lane said that in the calendar of criminal offences, blackmail was one of the ugliest and most vicious because it involved what one found so often, the attempted murder of the soul.”
Hull had used Grindr to contact dozens of victims across the South of England, said prosecutor Max Hardy, but many were too scared to come forward to help police in case their identities became public.
The perpetrator had used the mobile numbers of his victims and social media in order to find out more information about his victims.
Prosecuting, Hardy referred to three victims as A, B and C, saying victim A had been told to pay £1,000 into Hull’s bank account otherwise his wife would find out he was on Grindr.
After he received the money from victim A, Hull sent a message saying: “Thanks, just be careful who you speak to next time.”
Victim B suffered a mild stroke due to the worry of being contacted in the same way, the court heard, and victim C was bisexual, but had been married to a woman for 20 years.
Victim C received a message saying: “It’s going to cost you to keep me quiet. £1,000 and I don’t say anything to your wife.”
Despite not being previously out, he came out to his wife.
Victim C was eventually able to track down Hull using his mobile number, which was attached to a London gay excort and the name Liam.
Back in July 2015, Hull had been convicted of an offence for charging a man £200 to meet up and then not turning up.
The judge thanked all three of the victims for coming forward and allowing “justice to be done”.