The Antrim blackmailer demanded £10,000 or the family home would be burned down

The court heard how the victim contacted police to report “that he was being blackmailed by the suspect over a drug debt from his son, who is a cocaine addict.”

Reece Carley, 22, appeared at Antrim Crown Court via video link from prison and pleaded guilty to one of five charges against him, namely that he made an unfounded demand for £10,000 “with threats” on dates between 2 and 6 hours. October last year.

Following his confession, prosecutor Mark Farrell asked for the four remaining charges, including two further counts of blackmail, threatening to destroy property and supply Class A cocaine to ‘stay on the books’.

Lawyer Seamus Macguilleachara said there was no objection to this course of action and accordingly Judge Roseanne McCormick KC marked them as abandoned on the books.

None of the facts surrounding the blackmail were revealed today, but during an earlier bail application a detective outlined how police believe Carley is “a member of a major organized crime gang” involved in drugs and extortion.

He told the court how the victim contacted police to report “that he was being blackmailed by the suspect over a drug debt from his son, who is a cocaine addict.”

“The injured party (IP) had paid £13,000 of his son’s drug debt in July/August by using savings, borrowing from family and taking money from his pension,” the detective said, adding that “at the time he told the defendant that would mean the end of all payments.”

However, according to the complainant, Carley contacted him on October 1 to say “his son had bought more cocaine and now owed a further £10,000”, so he confronted his son, who “confirmed that the defendant had given him 70 grams of cocaine in the form of a pat.” to be paid afterwards.”

During a telephone call from a number withheld, but where the alleged victim recognized Carley’s voice, the defendant told him “he had to pay £10,000” and despite protesting that it was not his fault, he told the alleged victim “he had until Friday, October 6th to pay.”

“Ten minutes later he got another call saying he (Carley) was at his front door,” the officer said, “he spoke to the defendant at the front door and he told him the big boys wouldn’t wait for the money .”

Carley told him that “the big boys want £7,000 and £3,000 was owed to the defendant,” the officer alleged, adding that the defendant allegedly threatened: “the big boys want it paid by Friday or the house will burn down.”

When Friday arrived, Carley was told there was no cash and he allegedly told the complainant “to get £4,000 on Monday” and was again threatened “with the big boys.”

“The IP is terrified of the consequences of not paying the drug debts, but felt he had no choice but to go to the police because he can no longer pay,” the detective said, explaining that the police believes that since cash had previously been handed over, the victim “may be pressured to beg, borrow or steal more money.”

Carley was arrested at his home and refused to answer questions, but given his plea today, he has accepted his guilt.

Judge McCormick remanded the extortionist in custody and adjourned sentencing until June 25, at which time the probationer will have completed a pre-sentence report.