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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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, I have a question about the definition of blackmail under

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, I have a question about the definition of blackmail under UK law. I had a brief affair with a girl at work. I refused to continue the affair as I realised it was a huge mistake and I want to be with my girlfriend. The girl at work first threatened to tell my girlfriend unless I carried on with the affair, and upon refusing to do that she is now telling me I need to resign immediately otherwise she will tell my girlfriend everything.
My girlfriend knows some, but not all of the details but the girl at work is now calling my girlfriend at work to tell her to ask me to resign and constantly sending me messages. Some are threatening, some are asking why I've rejected her, but mostly they have the theme that I need to leave my job or she'll tell my girlfriend everything. She has phoned my girlfriend's place of work, told me that she has found my old house (currently on the rental market) on Rightmove, that she knows where I live and everything about me. She has threatened that if I don't leave she will "f***ing destroy" me. I have some of these threats on email or facebook messenger, but some have been mode over the phone or in person. I've had to change my phone number to stop the constant messages, but this has just led to her getting in touch in other ways.
Does this constitute blackmail under UK law? I am planning to get legal advice, then tell her that if any of the threats or messages continue, I will escalate this issue with the authorities and at work, but was unsure where I stand legally. I'm pretty sure this will be regarded as gross misconduct at work but would be interested on the law around this.
Many thanks,
Thank you question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Why doesn't your girlfriend just complain that she is harassing her? I presume she doesn't want this contact? There are more than two instances?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The contact with my girlfriend has been limited. The majority of the harassment and threats has been directed at me. There is a constant threat that if I don't leave the company then she will send my girlfriend all the details of our relationship. The call my girlfriend received at work seemed to be a show of power and a message to me that if I don't hurry up and resign, she can get in contact with my girlfriend at any time. There has been more specific threats to me saying that if I resign now, then she will leave my girlfriend alone.

I just want to know if this constitutes blackmail as I'm being threatened that if I don't leave my job now, she will tell my girlfriend everything. I have been looking jobs, but don't want to leave the company, especially under a threat which she could still carry out even if I did leave. I'm hoping if I inform her of the legal position around the threats and harassment, she will try to move on.

I suppose you could argue it is a blackmail but it is not likely to be charged. Blackmail has generally been confined to a demand . Even a demand like sex is not sufficient. Actually the law does say that a person has to act with a view to gain themselves or cause loss to another and this would comply but that type of case is not often prosecuted.
There are lots of other alternatives. Harassment is the obvious one. This is clearly harassing conduct of both you and probably of your girlfriend.,
There are also potenially malicious communication offences and public order issues. With adverse telecommunications contact there is almost always something under the Communications Act 2003 that covers conduct.
None of that actually stops her telling your girlfriend of course.
Can I clarify anything ?
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you reply. I'm going to meet a solicitor this afternoon to discuss my options but just wanted a clarification of the law, which you have provided.

Many thanks help.

A letter before action would probably bring an end to this. She will soon stop if she thinks that there might be a consequence.
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