‘Brilliant’ father shown lenience

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A MAN convicted of blackmail has been handed a suspended prison sentence.

Anthony Duncan, 43, of The Beeches, Bury St Edmunds, was last month found guilty of the blackmail charge at Ipswich Crown Court but was cleared of a second offence of intimidation, which he had also denied.

On Monday, Judge Peter Fenn imposed a nine month prison sentence suspended for 18 months and told Duncan he would be required to do 200 hours of unpaid community work.

Duncan will also be under Probation Service supervision for the next 18 months and have to pay £750 towards the cost of the prosecution.

Sentencing, Judge Fenn said that Duncan had avoided prison due to exceptional circumstances.

The father of five was described by a character witness as a ‘brilliant’ father and the court was told that Duncan’s daughter aged 19 was seriously ill and due to undergo chemotherapy.

The court had previously heard that Duncan had been fined by magistrates after admitting assaulting a 22-year-old man on August 5.

The attack happened after Duncan had gone downstairs at his partner’s house to ask a group of noisy young people to be quiet. One who answered back was chased and pushed to the ground by Duncan.

After the attack he had told his victim to drop the charges and later demanded money from him to cover the court costs.

Duncan claimed that when he first met the victim following the assault he and the 22-year-old had apologised to each other and parted after shaking hands. He denied there had been any intimidation. He also denied asking for money.

A 22-year-old woman who had been at the house when the demand for money was made claimed at the trial that Duncan had appeared aggressive from his facial expression and the way he was walking.