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Pair found guilty of royal blackmail plot

Two men were found guilty today of a £50,000 gay sex blackmail plot against a mystery royal.

Ian Strachan and Sean McGuigan demanded the money for a set of recordings featuring "scandalous" remarks by a royal employee.

Among the claims were that the married royal, witness A, performed a sex act on his employee, witness D, at a party. Strachan and McGuigan used the tapes to demand money from A after trying but failing to sell them to newspapers.

They were arrested in a sting operation at a London hotel by undercover police officers in September last year. Strachan, 31, of Imperial Wharf, Fulham, south-west London, and McGuigan, 41, of Latchmere Road, Battersea, south London, were facing jail today after being found guilty by an Old Bailey jury of demanding money with menaces.

It followed a police investigation and three-week trial thought to have cost at least £1 million. Mark Ellison QC, prosecuting, said it was a "classic example of blackmail".

The court heard that Strachan was a "Walter Mitty" type fantasist who liked to claim he was a friend of royals and lived a champagne lifestyle. McGuigan, a recovering alcoholic, made contact with A's representatives in July last year and was present as the tapes were played to an undercover officer posing as a royal aide, in a meeting shortly before both men were arrested.