24-year-old Lee Taylor’s (pictured) strategy was simple: He’d hideout in the men’s bathroom at Gheluvelt Park. Another man would enter the facility. The two would have sex. Afterwards, Taylor would threaten either to reveal the men’s secrets to their families or accuse them of rape unless they forked over £100 ($150 U.S.).
According to court documents, the first incident occurred on November 12 of last year. Taylor met a married man in Gheluvelt Park. They did the nasty. Then Taylor requested a ride home.
“As they drove off, Taylor asked his victim for money for what had happened or he would make sure his family and his employer would know,” prosecutor Patrick Sullivan told the court.
The man managed to get out of paying Taylor by tricking him. He drove a random house and told the 24-year-old that it was his home. As they headed up the front walkway, the victim lied and said he had forgotten his keys. Then he jumped back into the vehicle and drove off.
A similar incident happened on November 20. Taylor hooked up with a guy in Gheluvelt Park then asked for a ride home. In the car, he demanded £100 in exchange for keeping quiet. The victim drove to an ATM and paid him the cash.
This week, Taylor pleaded guilty to two charges of blackmail.
Taylor’s lawyer, Jason Aris, said his client was homeless and didn’t have a job, so extorting money from innocent victims was his own means for survival. He promised he was sorry and that it wouldn’t happen again. The only problem? This has happened before.
Taylor just finished serving four-and-a-half years in jail for the exact same crime. He was released less than a week before committing the same offenses again.
A judge sentenced him to seven more years behind bars, telling the young man, “There needs to be a deterrent not just for you but for others.”
The judge also issued a restraining order against Taylor, banning him from entering Gheluvelt Park indefinitely.