Man jailed for lengthy ex­tor­tion

South Western Times - - News - Tim Clarke

An en­gi­neer who ex­torted $77,000 from a man by threat­en­ing to ex­pose his ho­mo­sex­ual li­aisons has been jailed for four years by a judge, who was told the crime was mo­ti­vated not by greed but by gay hate.

Todd Wil­son, 42, who was a re­spected foot­ball coach and fam­ily man in the Ea­ton com­mu­nity where he lived, spent two years ter­ror­is­ing his 70-year-old vic­tim, who was so scared of his po­ten­tial out­ing to his wife and fam­ily that he con­tin­ued pay­ing up. Us­ing mul­ti­ple phone num­bers, threats of bikie links and gay slurs in his mes­sages, Wil­son de­manded tens of thou­sands of dol­lars from his vic­tim be­tween 2015 and 2017.

But af­ter an­other $15,000 de­mand in Au­gust last year, the vic­tim went to the po­lice – who di­rected him to go through with the money drop at the Ea­ton Fair shop­ping cen­tre and then fol­lowed the hooded ex­torter home.

There, they ar­rested Wil­son, who ini­tially claimed he was try­ing to “clean up” his lo­cal area.

The Dis­trict Court was told this week that claim was “pre­pos­ter­ous” and he was merely try­ing to clean up fi­nan­cially.

“The threats made . . . var­ied, from threats to em­bar­rass the vic­tim, threats to de­stroy the vic­tim’s rep­u­ta­tion . . . threats to po­ten­tially de­stroy his mar­riage . . . to­gether with ref­er­ences to . . . out­law mo­tor­cy­cle gangs,” prose­cu­tor David Mc­Cal­lum said. “Th­ese ut­ter­ances are all hall­marks of this be­ing a gay hate crime.”

Judge Bruce Goetze was told Wil­son had en­gaged in re­search about the vic­tim in or­der to use the in­for­ma­tion as a weapon against him.

One of the mes­sages sent to his vic­tim was read out in court: “I don’t give a f... who I take down or the lives of fam­ily I de­stroy.”

Wil­son’s lawyer Genevieve Cleary said he main­tained his ac­tions were in part mo­ti­vated by a de­sire to clean up the lo­cal fore­shore, where he be­lieved ho­mo­sex­ual sex was oc­cur­ring.

“It took a while for him to re­alise that what he was do­ing was ut­terly wrong, but also com­pletely shame­ful,” she said.

Wil­son is el­i­gi­ble for pa­role af­ter two years.

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