A blackmailer who demanded £10,000 cash from a family has been jailed for four years

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Richard McDonald admitted blackmailing the family in Sheerness and was jailed at Maidstone Crown Court on 28 October 2020.


On 5 September the 57-year-old targeted the family at their business in Minster-on-Sea, by repeatedly calling their shop and demanding money.


McDonald, of Lewisham Way, London, started making the calls at around 8am and then called numerous times throughout the day. He threatened to both harm and kidnap the victims as well as their extended family which included children unless his demands were met.


He claimed the money was owed in connection to a property in Spain and told the victim he was travelling home through France and would attend the shop and hurt the family if he didn’t receive the cash.


Having discussed the threats, the family agreed to pay McDonald a quantity of money and transferred this into an account. However, McDonald was not happy and wanted more money and continued to call them throughout the day making further threats to hurt them.


They reported the incident to the police and he was arrested on 6 September.


As part of the investigation, officers checked McDonald’s mobile phone and it was found to have been used to make the calls to the shop.


His vehicle was also seen at the French Channel Tunnel at around 3.10pm on 5 September before it returned to the UK at around 4.52pm.


As well as being jailed he was also given a 10 year restraining order which prevents him from contacting the victims. The order also prohibits him from entering the Isle of Sheppey.


Investigating officer Detective Constable Martin Stevens said: ‘McDonald blackmailed the victims by making numerous, serious threats of violence and kidnap. The victims believed these threats would be carried out which caused them to not only fear for their own lives, but for the lives of their family.


They attempted to appease him by transferring some money, however, McDonald was not content with this and was relentless in his demands, continuing to call them and make further threats throughout the day. We work hard to support victims, no matter the type of crime, and his sentence reflects the seriousness of this offence.’