A BLACKMAILER posed as a 14-year-old girl and threatened to expose a man he befriended online as a paedophile unless he paid him £4,000.

Lewis Jones sent Facebook messages to Birju Karia, in the West Midlands, pretending to be someone called Anna Smith, between May and June last year.

Newport Crown Court heard the messages were of a sexual nature and both parties sent intimate photos.

Jones, 22, of Libanus Fields, Pontllanfraith, sent Mr Karia message saying: “I am 14 years old and you are clearly trying to have sex with me, you are a paedophile.

“If you pay I won’t out you as a paedophile to friends and the police, which will ruin your life.”

He continued: “I hope you will take the easy way out and not the hard way, which will destroy your life.”

Jones demanded £4,000 and gave details of where the money should be left on May 22, the court heard.

When Mr Karia received the blackmail message, he contacted police, claiming his online accounts had been hacked. The pair were not previously known to each other.

Initially Jones’ dad came under suspicion because he owned the computer but Jones confessed. He pleaded guilty to blackmail at an earlier hearing on the basis that Mr Karia entered into the conversations voluntarily.

Andrew Jones, defending, said Jones suffered with a “myriad” of problems and had been recently diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome.

He said he relied upon his “virtual” friends and the virtual world, where his social difficulties did not pose the problems they did in real life.

Mr Jones said his client, who never received the £4,000 he demanded, was very sorry for what he had done.

Sentencing him to 12 months in prison, Judge Niclas Parry said it was a “truly wicked crime”.

He said: “You made sinister threats, you led him to believe that you knew where he worked, who his family and friends were.

You made him believe he was under your control and you could expose him.

“You clearly understood the gravity of what you were doing.”