Used Grindr to blackmail men

Courts
Courts

A loner who used a gay dating app to blackmail other men has been jailed for two and a half years.

Liam Hull, 22, targeted scores of men using GRINDR, where he would ensnare his victims, many of which were married and had children, by threatening to expose them unless they coughed up money.

One victim paid over £1,000 into a bank account that Hull had set up.

Another victim, a man who had been married for over 20 years and who had two grown up children, was forced to confess to his wife about his double life.

Another man suffered a mild stroke because of the worry and stress after Hull contacted him.

Hull, of Luton, pleaded guilty to three offences of blackmail when he appeared at Luton Crown Court on Wednesday.

Prosecutor Max Hardy told the court Hull had used the site called Grindr, to blackmail scores of victims across the south of England, but many had been reluctant to help the police for fear their families would find out about their double lives.

Hull would contact potential victims, exchange explicit selfies and phone numbers and use this scant information to trawl through social media to track down people and learn their real names.

Armed with this information he would then demand money to keep their gay life a secret.

After one victim paid Hull he brazenly told the victim “Thanks, just be careful who you speak to next time.”

Bedfordshire Police arrested Hull in May after some of his victims came forward.

Defending, David Healey told the court Hull had been diagnosed in his youth with ADHD and dyslexia and had spent some time in his teens in care.

It emerged that Hull, who was living on benefits, had been convicted of an offence in July 2015 of making a false representation after contacting a man he had met through the website Grindr site and asking for £200 from him to meet, but then failed to turn up.

In 2014 he accepted a police caution for threatening to put pictures on Facebook of a man who had been in contact with him regarding sexual matters.