A UK judge at Luton Crown Court has praised the bravery of 3 gay men (only referred to in court as A,B and C) who came forward to expose a 22 year-old blackmailer, who used Grindr to extort money from his victims.
Liam Hull, unemployed, from Luton, who pleaded guilty to three counts of blackmail, had been using the gay dating site to target gay men who were not out, some with wives and children, and in one case, the gay man had to confess to his wife after 20 years of marriage.
Judge Richard Foster sentenced Hull to two and a half years, and quoted Lord Lane that blackmail was one of the most ugly and vicious of criminal offences, and it involved “the attempted murder of the soul”.
The court heard that Hull would target married men, and once having initial contact details, would then use social media to find out more about his victims. In A’s case, Hull was able to find A’s full name and information about his wife. Victim A then paid Hull £1,000 when supplied with bank details.
Victim B suffered a minor stroke, and victim C said he was bisexual, and had been using Grindr since 2015, having been married for twenty years, with grown-up children.
Victim C had decided to tell his wife about his bisexuality, and then checked the number he had for Hull, which he found was an escort agency for gay men in London. He gave the information to the Bedfordshire police, and Hull was arrested.