A gay grandfather in England was terrified recently when a young date he had met on Grindr tried to blackmail him for £600, according to DevonLive. The victim went to the police who set up a sting operation and arrested Keiran Thurling, 25, for blackmail.
The unnamed victim had met Thurling on Grindr in 2018, and the pair had hooked up at least eight times in the past. Then in January of this year, the 25 year-old demanded money or he would out the victim by placing posters throughout their town.
Rather than pay the blackmail, though, the frightened grandfather went to the police. He was unable to identify Thurling because the blackmailer always wore a hoodie that covered his face, and because their clandestine meetings always took place in the dark.
Police quickly set up a sting operation to catch the young blackmailer. They filled an envelope with paper, and had the victim place the envelope in the hiding place specified by Thurling. The young perp was arrested when he went to pick up the envelope.
Detectives soon learned that Thurling was a troubled young man in debt and had difficulty coming to terms with his own sexuality. He quickly admitted his guilt and expressed remorse, telling authorities he planned on using the money to travel abroad and kill himself. Detectives quickly learned, though, that the amount requested by Thurling matched the amount of money in which he was in debt.
Thurling was sentenced to 20 months in jail, 150 hours of community work, and 25 days of rehabilitation.
"Having met initially on the internet, you threatened to expose his sexuality in a way calculated to cause him the utmost anxiety and fear,” said Judge David Evans when handing down the sentence. "With his family background, such a revelation would have turned his life upside down at a relatively late stage in his life. The psychological misery that would have resulted for him and others doesn't bear calculating."
Judge Evans showed leniency, though, and suspended the prison term for two years, citing Thurling’s immediate admission of guilt and his sincere remorse for the pain and suffering he caused the victim. The judge also ordered Thurling to avoid any contact with the victim and banned him from revealing the victim’s identity.