Butcher guilty of blackmailing wife with video

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The Independent Online

A butcher was convicted yesterday of blackmailing his estranged wife by threatening to send a video of her having group sex to her parents and friends in a dispute over their divorce settlement.

A butcher was convicted yesterday of blackmailing his estranged wife by threatening to send a video of her having group sex to her parents and friends in a dispute over their divorce settlement.

Julian St Quinton, 33, made repeated threats to Samantha Stone, the daughter of a millionaire timber merchant, that he would use the film against her unless she withdrew a claim for half of their £85,000 home.

A jury at Hull Crown Court convicted St Quinton of blackmail after a five-day trial during which salacious detail emerged of the couple's "swinging" sessions arranged through an adult contact magazine.

The panel of six men and six women agreed a majority verdict of 10 to two after deliberating for six hours. Judge Tom Cracknell delayed sentencing after it was revealed that St Quinton, of Easington, East Yorkshire, now faces a further trial on charges of rape and indecent assault against a different woman.

The judge said, however, that blackmail was a "serious matter" for which St Quinton could expect to receive a prison sentence. St Quinton, visibly shaken at the verdict, was remanded into custody.

The butcher told police that he and his wife had group sex with six couples after placing an advert in a local contact magazine - the Gwenap Flyer - and choosing suitable couples over breakfast.

St Quinton, who ran a mobile butcher's van which he has since sold, would often video the encounters which happened every two or three months for the last two years of the couple's four-year marriage.

The court heard that St Quinton eventually made a compilation of edited "highlights" from the tapes at the home that the couple built from scratch in Easington, a seaside village 20 miles from Hull.

The marriage foundered in 1997 after Samantha, now 26, left and eventually moved in with a married company director. St Quinton made a series of phone calls to her threatening to pass on the video.

Ms Stone told the court that her husband would call telling her to drop her claim to their home, saying: "I would back off if I were you. You know what I have and you know what I can do with it."

St Quinton threatened to send the seven-hour video to her parents, Trevor and Linda, as well as her friends and colleagues at work, she said. "It was happening all the time. At least three out of four phone calls would end with a blackmail threat."

The court heard that Ms Stone, now of Roos, East Yorkshire, admitted she had never been forced to take part in the wife-swapping sessions, which also led to pictures of her being published in an adult magazine.

She offered differing reasons for taking part, saying she had done it because she "craved love" from her husband before insisting that it was because "anything was better than having sex with him on his own".

St Quinton admitted during the trial that he had shown the video to subsequent girlfriends but denied making threats to his estranged wife.

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