Saturday 18 November 2017

'Blackmail bid will scar me for years'

A DUBLIN man who attempted to blackmail an ex-councillor handed him a grovelling letter of apology just minutes before he was sentenced.

Wesley Higgins, from Coolock, was sentenced to a three-year jail term, with the final 18 months suspended, after trying to blackmail former Fianna Fail councillor Liam Kelly.

Higgins (33) had pleaded guilty to attempting to extort €5,000 from Mr Kelly in 2006 by threatening to give photographs of him allegedly snorting cocaine to a Sunday paper.

He was branded "premeditated, conniving and sly" by a judge.

Mr Kelly told the Herald: "I fear I'll be crushed for the rest of my life." Higgins handed Mr Kelly (41) a letter of apology, seen by the Herald, just minutes before being taken away to Mountjoy Prison.

"I would like to sincerely apologise for all the pain and stressed caused by actions to you and your family," the letter reads.

"Hopefully in time you will be able to put this distressing period behind you for which I accept full responsibility."

Mr Kelly told the Herald he fears that the scandal will "scar me for years".

He admitted he is now considering emigration due to his "financial woes" and that he holds "no anger" towards Higgins.

"I hope that today marks the first day of the rest of my life," he said. "However I'm terrified that this will follow me for years.

"The stress that this ordeal has caused both my family and I -- you just can't imagine. However I'm not at all happy that he was given a custodial sentence. If I was allowed to speak to the court I would have respectively asked the judge that this guy be spared prison for the sake of his family and his future. He isn't a menace to anyone else."


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