I was protecting royal from sexual predator, says blackmail accused

A man accused of blackmailing a member of the Royal Family told the Old Bailey yesterday that he was acting out of revenge against an employee who he claimed was a "gay sexual predator".

Ian Strachan, 31, and Sean McGuigan, 41, are both accused of demanding £50,000 to stop them selling tapes of alleged gay sex claims involving the royal.

But Mr Strachan said the taped allegations by a royal employee, known as witness D, were to warn the royal against that employee's predatory gay advances.

The two Londoners deny blackmailing the royal, known only as witness A.

Mr Strachan told the Old Bailey that he, in fact, liked the royal and "never" wished him any harm.

He said he was acting out of revenge against one of witness A's employees, whom he branded a "predatory homosexual" who drugged people to have sex with them. His aim was to ensure that the employee would be exposed, "get his come-uppance" and get the sack, he told the jury.

Mr Strachan's statements at London's Old Bailey marked the beginning of the third week of the trial, and the first time the court has heard from either of the accused. The court heard that the property developer, from Fulham, south-west London, had struck up a friendship with witness D in 2006.

But Mr Strachan described the man as subsequently revealing himself as a predatory homosexual who had tried to drug and assault not only himself but two of his friends as well.

The court heard that it had been the motivation for a plot hatched by Mr Strachan and his co-defendant, Mr McGuigan, of Battersea, south London, to record allegations the man had made about the royal.

Their aim, Mr Strachan said, was not to make any money but to get the employee into trouble and get him sacked.

Mr Strachan said the pair had even discussed outing witness D by publishing the tapes on YouTube.

But Mr Strachan described a conversation with a News of the World journalist who had told him the tapes would be worth between £25,000 and £50,000.

He went on to describe subsequent conversations with a friend of the royal, known as witness C.

The court heard that when Mr Strachan told witness C of the money he had been offered for the tapes, witness C offered him €73,000 (£57,000).

Jerome Lynch QC, representing Mr Strachan, asked his client: "Why wouldn't you have asked him for money?" in reference to witness C.

Mr Strachan replied: "Because that would have been blackmail."

Mr Lynch then asked him why he thought it was acceptable to make the tapes in the first place. Mr Strachan said: "The material was legally obtained."

Mr Strachan claimed to have known other members of the Royal Family before meeting Mr McGuigan.

Asked by Ronald Thwaites QC, defending Mr McGuigan, if he had met any royals of his own accord, he said that he had.

When asked to write them down, they were referred to as Z1, Z2 and Z3 because the rest of the alphabet had been taken up with royals already given codes during the trial.

Mr Strachan said he had "a conversation about horses" with Z1, and they had also met in a nightclub.

He said Z2 had played against him in a sport when he was younger and so "had frequent contact". He had met Z3 in a club.

Mr Strachan added: "Have I met them, have interacted – yes. Are they close friends – no."

Mr Strachan said he worked as a stylist and fashion journalist, having worked freelance for a magazine called Skin and for a Dubai publication. He said he falsely told people he had a law degree when trying to recover money owed to other stylists he represented.

The trial continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss