AN INTERIOR designer threatened to expose a children's charity trustee as having a collection of pornography and possible homosexual leanings in a pounds 250,000 blackmail attempt, it was alleged at the Old Bailey yesterday.
At the start of the trial of Conrad Jameson, 60, of Sydney Place, Chelsea, west London, Judge John Murchie continued a magistrates' order that the victim and charity should not be identified. Mr Jameson denies blackmailing the man, 'A'.
John Williams, for the prosecution, said Mr Jameson threatened to issue a writ detailing A's alleged pornographic paintings and an antique chair designed to put women strapped in it into a variety of sexual positions at the touch of a button.
If the writ was issued the press could publish the allegations contained in it, embarrassing A and affecting the charity and those who funded its dealings with abused children, the court was told.
Mr Jameson was hired to do interior design work on A's country home and London mews house. But A became suspicious about the work and issued a writ against Mr Jameson, his company Jameson Design Ltd, and his wife, Tricia, the court was told.
Mr Williams told the court Mr Jameson knew A was the charity's main source of funds. Mr Jameson's response to the writ was to claim delays were not his fault. He said when he and Tricia had first visited A's country home he had been keen to take them to his dressing room to show off his collection of pornographic pictures and the chair.
Mr Williams said the allegations were 'entirely false' and that if there had been 'one iota of truth in them' Mr Jameson could have gone to the appropriate people long before.
He told the jury they would see the pictures themselves - 'they are not outrageously disgusting. They are drawings by two reputable artists, they are not perhaps to everyone's taste, but by no manner can be described as a pornographic collection.'
He said the chair, which the jury would also see, and which he likened to the one the judge was sitting on, was used by doctors for gynaecolog ical examinations.
Mr Jameson threatened to issue his own writ so that the press would know that 'a man of suspect sexual morals was involved with the charity'. He demanded pounds 250,000 in settlement, Mr Williams said.
The trial continues today.
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