BROTHERS who bullied and intimidated a couple, forcing them to hand over prescription drugs, have been jailed for 27 months each, after they admitted blackmail.
Jamie Kirkham, 37, of Heol y Coleg, Vaynor in Newtown and Ricki Kirkham, 32, of Swallow Drive, Maesyrhandir, Newtown, had denied the charge and were due to go on trial on Wednesday, September 13.
But following delays after the jury was sworn in, they returned to court and admitted blackmail.
Both pleaded guilty to two charges of blackmailing a man and a woman in Newtown between June 2016 and April 2017 by making unwarranted demands for medication
At Mold Cown Court, Judge Niclas Parry told them that their case typified what blackmail was all about – “the strong taking advantage of the weak.”
“Both victims were utterly dependent upon prescribed medication and it was the threats they received that made them hand over their medication to the defendants so that they could sell it,” he said.
“You made their lives utterly miserable for 10 months,” the judge told them.
The victims were scared of the defendants because of their bad records for violence - both had served significant sentences for violence.
The judge said that on this occasion the demands made upon them were through threats not actual violence and no injury had been caused.
The brothers were also given a five year restraining order not to contact the victims in any way or approach their home addresses.
Prosecuting barrister Paulinus Barnes said that the victims had medication prescribed to them for anxiety but the brothers had been demanding the drugs with menaces.
The couple were so scared that they handed them over.
Ricki was alleged to have bullied the female victim, and had introduced her to heroin.
She told how the brothers at one stage effectively took over their property.
They would go with her on the day the prescription was due to be collected and she was threatened that if she did not hand over the drugs then they would tell police that she was dealing heroin.
Mr Barnes said that she feared if that happened then she might lose contact with her children.
The male victim told how they threatened to assault him if they were not given tablets.
Defending barrister Jonathan Austin, for Jamie Kirkham, said that his client admitted threats and being menacing to get tablets but no more.
Mr Austin had also said that his client was addicted to substances including prescribed drugs, losing access to them over the last few months had left him in a “considerable” state.
Defending barrister Andrew Green, for Ricki Kirkham, said that his basis of plea showed that it was intimidation rather than actual violence.
He had been rebuilding his relationship with his partner, the mother of his child, and he had also been helping his father care for his grandmother in the Oswestry area.
His client had used his period in custody in a positive way, was a mentor, had qualifications in mentoring which he hoped to follow up on his release.
See full story in the County Times