Revenge porn blackmailer spared prison

Court news
Court news

A Luton man who assaulted his ex-partner and harrassed him with revenge porn has been spared prison.

Andy Vandenhurk, 41, appeared at Luton Magistrates Court on Wednesday after being convicted of the offences in his absence on January 14.

The court heard how Vandenhurk – originally from the Netherlands – violently attacked the ex after a row broke out at an address in Luton on October 13 last year.

Vandenhurk banged the victim’s head against a wall several times, before grabbing him by the hair, by the throat, and then pushing him on to a bed.

The victim stated: “I was gasping for air. I heard him shouting over and over, ‘I’m going to kill you’.”

The assault was only stopped when a neighbour who overheard Vandenhurk’s threat, knocked on the front door.

Magistrates heard that later the same evening Vandenhurk sent a compromising image of the victim to the neighbour and the victim’s sister, with a message stating, “£50 or else this is a flavour of the photographs I’ve got”.

Vandenhurk was convicted in his absence of harrassment and assault by beating on January 14. He also failed to appear for his initial sentencing on April 20, requiring it to be adjourned for a week.

The victim described Vandehurk, of Mount Pleasant Road, as “the nicest man in the world” when sober, but “when he drinks he turns into a monster”.

In an impact statement, he added the thought of the pictures made him feel “sick and embarrassed” and that he had attempted suicide.

Vandenhurk’s defence stated he was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder after being extradited to the Netherlands in 2011 on suspicion of his sister’s killing, although he was subsequently cleared of all charges.

Magistrates sentences Vandenhurk to an 18 month community order, in which he will undergo a mental health treatment requirement of 12 months and 30 days rehabilitation activity.

He was ordered to pay full court costs, victim surcharge and compensation, totalling £1180, to be deducted from benefits.