Chester Crown Court records show that a 31-year-old unemployed plumber has pleaded guilty of hooking up with a closeted married man and then trying to extort him for thousands of dollars.
Benjamin Muskett, a father of two, decided to put together a plot to seduce closeted married men then extort them for cash. Muskett would contact men through online dating sites. It’s unclear how many men were involved, but a 51-year-old referred to as “Mr. X” is listed in court documents.
It appears that the two agreed to meet up for sex on September 2 of this year.
“An arrangement was made whereby the complainant, “Mr. X”, traveled to Sandbach and met in the car park of Co-op,” Hussey said. “He met the defendant who had given his name as Lee.”
“The defendant got into “Mr. X’s” vehicle and after a discussion, they agreed to travel out to a country lane.”
“Mr. X” is married to a woman and performed oral sex on Muskett who happens to be in a relationship with a woman. A few days after the encounter “Mr. X” started to receive threatening notes from Muskett.
“He received messages demanding that he pay up £5,000 in cash,” Hussey told the court. “If he didn’t then there would be uploaded to the website a video that was taken of what they had been doing.”
Afraid of being outed to his family, “Mr. X” contacted the police.
“The fact that he is a married man was uppermost in “Mr. X’s” mind in taking the decision to come forward,” said Hussey.
Muskett was arrested the next day. He confessed to blackmail but stated he was bluffing about there being a video and stated that no such video existed.
In court, Muskett’s lawyer said he only did it out of desperation and love for his family: “He was on benefits and felt unable to provide for his family. He’s a fully qualified plumber.”
He added: “In the cold light of day he realizes how stupid he’s been and apologizes unreservedly to “Mr. X.”
The judge, however, was not impressed and sentenced Muskett to three years in prison.
“This crime was particularly vicious because it was planned and deliberate,” Judge Berkson told the defendant. “You set up a profile on that website in order to carry out this crime.”