Inverness hairdresser jailed for blackmail after posing as a woman for nude pics

Edinburgh High Court
Edinburgh High Court

A blackmailer was jailed for four years and four months yesterday after posing as an amorous young woman online to entrap men and a schoolboy.

Joshua Hunter encouraged victims to take explicit pictures and videos and send them to him using a false female profile before extorting cash from some of the men under threat of publishing the material on social media or distributing it to family and friends.

Hairdresser Hunter, 23, formerly of Inverness and Dunfermline, gained more than £1,700 from the calculating scheme and attempted to extort a further £4,000 from one man during a crime spree spanning more than two years.

When police seized phones, sim cards and a computer from his former home in Inverness they also recovered indecent images of children.

A judge told Hunter at the High Court in Edinburgh: “This was a callous course of conduct persisted in over a period of almost two years and clearly caused considerable distress and anxiety to a number of your victims.”

Lady Scott jailed Hunter for two years for the extortion and attempted extortion offences and a further two years and four months for the crimes involving the boy.

She told first offender Hunter that he would be placed on the sex offenders’ register for a decade.

Hunter earlier admitted a total of 13 charges when he appeared in court. He pled guilty to nine charges of extortion, two offences of causing an underage child to participate in sexual activity and possessing and making indecent images of children. The offences were committed in Inverness-shire, Inverness, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Lanarkshire between January 1 in 2015 and May 1 2017.

Defence solicitor advocate Ewen Roy said Hunter “bitterly regrets his involvement in these matters”.

The defence lawyer said Hunter had endured “an extremely difficult and troubled upbringing” with periods spent in care and foster homes. He has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and suffers depression and anxiety.