A MAN from Abergele has been jailed after he blackmailed the woman who was housing him into transferring him more than £1,000.

Richard Owen, 31, of Marine Road, was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment at Caernarfon Crown Court today (October 6).

He had previously admitted, on September 8, a charge of blackmail.


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Prosecuting, Elen Owen told the court that Owen was placed into a guest house, run by Gillian Davies, by Conwy County Borough Council on October 22, 2022.

On February 10, Owen asked her to lend him to £20 to get to work; she transferred £25 to a bank account he said belonged to his partner.

Owen asked Ms Davies for another £20 on February 13, promising to repay her; she sent him £40 by mistake, adding that she was “proud of him”, and that he could pay her back whenever he was able to.

He then asked for another £50 to cover an overdue phone bill, which she sent him, but which Owen later said he had not received.

The defendant asked her to re-send the money, which she did, but she also told him not to ask her for any more.

On February 20, having received none of the money which she had lent him back, Ms Davies was no longer billing the council for Owen’s room, and asked him to speak to a housing officer.

A day later, he told her he needed £370 for a deposit for a flat, and that if she helped him, their “secrets with the council” would be safe.

This was regarding an ultimately baseless allegation by Owen that Ms Davies had committed fraud.

She was left feeling “panic-stricken”, but he told her he would be “out of her hair” if she helped him, so she sent him more money.

On February 24, while out having lunch with her family, Ms Davies received a message from Owen, demanding £500 from her within the next 20 minutes.

“Otherwise,” he said, “I’m telling them everything.”

Ms Davies, “terrified”, sent him £500 while still at the table with her family, which led to her son noticing her in a “very distressed” state and crying.

She “broke down” as she then revealed to her son what had been happening between her and Owen.

Elaine Boniface, a council housing officer, met Ms Davies on February 24, and “put her right” on the matter, telling her to report Owen to police.

Ms Boniface said Ms Davies “goes way beyond what she’s contracted to provide,” and had previously provided residents with Christmas dinner and gifts out of her own pocket.

But on February 25, Ms Davies told her that Owen had demanded another £350 from her, saying: “This is the last time.”

She sent him this money, but when Ms Boniface learnt of this, she reported it to her manager, who in turn informed police.

On March 1, Owen asked Ms Davies for another £300, saying: “I just need help one last time to clear my issue.”

In total, Owen blackmailed Ms Davies into sending him £1,150.

A “distraught” Ms Davies said: “Words can’t express how scared, frightened, humiliated, and foolish I felt.

“My reputation means a great deal to me. The thought of anyone believing I was capable of fraud was very frightening.”

She added that Owen “knocked the stuffing out of her” and left her feeling “hollow inside”.

Owen was interviewed twice by police, in March and May, but made no comment.

He had 30 previous convictions for 61 offences, including of dishonesty, criminal damage, outraging public decency, violence, burglary, harassment, and dangerous driving.

Defending Owen, Thomas McLoughlin said he is “extremely sorry”, adding that the money he demanded from Ms Davies was to pay off drug debts he had accrued.

Owen’s daughter was born soon after this offence; he has not used drugs since then, and wants to “stay drug-free” for her sake.

Mr McLoughlin said Owen is now “determined to do better for his daughter”, and asked the court if his custodial sentence could be suspended.

But Recorder Wyn Lloyd-Jones, presiding over the hearing, refused, given Owen’s “terrible record” and the severity of his “very mean” offence.

A restraining order was also made, effective until further notice, while Owen will pay a statutory surcharge upon his release.

Recorder Lloyd-Jones told him: “She had been so good to you. What you did was, literally, to emotionally manipulate her. You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

“The courts have given you many, many opportunities to change your ways over the years.

“You are an extremely poor role model to that child. You should bear that in mind any time you ever thing of doing anything illegal in future.”