Two in court over Royal “blackmail plot”
A court at the Old Bailey in London was told today that two men attempted to blackmail an unnamed member of the Royal Family.
Sean McGuigan and Ian Strachan obtained an audio recording of a member of the Royal staff claiming his employer had gay sex with him at a party, the jury was told.
Prosecutor Mark Ellison said that 31-year-old Strachan made video and audio recordings of the Royal employee, referred to as witness D, on McGuigan’s mobile phone.
The eight hours worth of recordings were then downloaded onto McGuigan’s computer.
Witness D, who it was claimed was drunk or on drugs during the conversations, made other allegations about his Royal employer, which Mr Ellison said could cause embarrassment and hurt, and about other Royals.
“He was also shown recounting stories and alleged experiences, making allegations of impropriety as to how his employer conducted aspects of his business,” Mr Ellison said, according to Reuters.
Strachan and McGuigan, 41, spent three months last year trying to sell the story to a range of tabloid newspapers, but failed to do so, he said.
The pair then decided to target the Royal directly, the prosecution claims.
The are alleged to have met with a policeman posing as a Royal aide and demanded £50,000 for the recordings.
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Since The Sunday Times broke the story in October there has been widespread speculation as to the identity of the Royal Family member who is the victim of the alleged blackmail.
He has been named on TV in the US and Australia and on numerous websites.
The British press are legally restrained from revealing the identity of the person, though it has been reported that he does not carry out any public duties.
Buckingham Palace has refused to comment on the alleged blackmail plot, saying only that it is a matter for the police.
Strachan and McGuigan are both pleading not guilty to making demands with menaces, contrary to the Theft Act 1968.
The trial continues.