TARGET: Richard Bateman, pictured, went to the police when Michael Randle demanded the financial adviser pay him £35,000
A 52-YEAR-OLD man has pleaded guilty to blackmailing a prominent businessman.
Michael Randle of Barras Cross, Liskeard, pleaded guilty to trying to extort £35,000 from Richard Bateman, who runs Bateman Financial Management in the town.
Police received a report from Mr Bateman alleging that an unknown man had telephoned and made threats towards Mr Bateman's family if his demands for money were not met.
Police had previously confirmed that the threats made against the businessman's family were "direct".
Randle, who appeared in the dock looking haggard and wearing a suit and open-necked shirt, pleaded guilty to one count of making an unwarranted demand with menaces for £35,000.
The prosecution did not officially open the case yesterday at Truro Crown Court but when asked by Judge Graham Cottle why Randle had picked on Mr Bateman, defence barrister Barrie Van den Berg said it remained unclear.
"He woke up one morning and just did it", he said.
Mr Van den Berg said Randle's father used to work for Mr Bateman as a gardener.
Judge Cottle ordered Randle to be remanded in custody and warned the defendant: "This is a serious offence with an overwhelming likelihood of a custodial sentence."
The case was adjourned until April 17 for the preparation of pre-sentence reports.