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Gay businessmen were blackmailed

TWO MEN yesterday admitted extorting thousands of pounds from businessmen after threatening to reveal that they were homosexuals, writes John Arlidge.

Brian Purdie, 22, from Edinburgh, and Daniel Ahearn, 27, from Glasgow, pleaded guilty to blackmail and the attempted blackmail of three men.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that Purdie told a 50-year-old man that he would paint slogans outside his flat revealing that he was a homosexual if he did not hand over hundreds of pounds.

Ahearn and another man, now dead, visited a 43-year-old businessman and told him: 'We are bad bastards. We are here to get money off you.'

The case is the latest in a series which has highlighted a homosexual blackmail scandal that emerged in Glasgow earlier this year. Last month, Paul Mellon, 26, was jailed for four years after Glasgow High Court heard that he had extorted pounds 17,000 from a 62-year- old businessman who had been his lover.

The Glasgow City and National Liaison Group, a self- help gay organisation, says that more than 40 other men are considering legal action.

Purdie and Ahearn were cleared of extorting pounds 12,000 from a 37-year-old shopkeeper. Ahearn was remanded in custody and Purdie granted bail pending sentencing next month.