Monday, October 13, 2014

UK: A Rather Extreme Approach to Teaching One's Offspring About Money-Management

According to The Telegraph, a bungling blackmailer who tried to extort cash from his parents in a kidnapping plot reminiscent of a Cohen Brothers film has had his jail term reduced by 50% on appeal.

Alisdair David Swift, 35, told his mother, Fiona, he had been abducted and would not be returned by his captors unless she paid a £125 (US$200.9 million) ransom.
He did that in a misguided bid to pay his gas bill, top judges heard at London's Appeal Court.
Echoing the plots of Fargo and the Big Lebowski, Swift subjected his mother to "the most terrifying night of her life," after borrowing almost £7,000 (US$11,251.40) from his parents in just two years.
Swift, of Doe Royd Crescent, Parson Cross, Sheffield, was imprisoned for 18 months at Sheffield Crown Court in July after he admitted blackmail.

Mr Justice Sweeney said the father-of-two bombarded his long-suffering mother and father Gerald with "persistent demands" for cash in the two years prior to  his hare-brained scheme.
"The demands, although not criminal, were relentless and unbearable," the judge added.
He explained the couple had to create a ledger to keep track of the payments that they could "ill-afford."
COMMENT: Between June, 2011 and June, 2013, Swift received £6,821 from his parents and managed to pay back only £75.
He would often change his mobile phone number, sending requests for cash by text up to three times-a-week.
Before midnight on June 27, 2013, Swift sent his mother a text asking for £100 to pay a debt, which she transferred to his bank account.
Further texts were sent that night declaring Swift had been sectioned and asking his parents to pay £1,000-per-week to cover the costs of caring for him.
"The text messages continued in the evening of June 28, in which Swift began to imply that he had been kidnapped and was in danger," the judge said.
"He said that he didn't know where he was and that, until he cleared a debt of £125, he was going to be kept from his home."
The string of texts continued through the night, making Mrs. Swift so desperate that she called the police.
"It's clear that the parents believed the text messages and were terrified for the plight of their son," Mr. Justice Sweeney said.
Mrs. Swift, also of Sheffield, later described it as "the most terrifying night of my life."
However, the next day, police tracked the phone being used to send the messages to Swift's home--and discovered him safely and securely in bed with his girlfriend.
Despite initially denying any knowledge of the scheme, he ultimately admitted he was "living beyond his means."
His parents said they found themselves "deeply conflicted" by his arrest and stressed that they did not want him to go to prison.
They emphasized that they loved the "troubled young man" very much.
To the author of a pre-sentence report, David Swift said he had "failed to think through" the consequences of what he did.

Expressing deep remorse for the impact his scheme had on his parents, the relationship between child and his parents have improved.
On appeal, his solicitor, Richard Sheldon, argued that Judge Peter Kelson QC had punished him too harshly.
He suggested Swift's jail term should have been suspended.
Mr Justice Sweeney, sitting with Judge Michael Pert QC, said there was "no doubt" that the custodial threshold had been crossed and an immediate prison sentence was required. However, Swift's 18-month jail term was "too long", Mr. Justice Sweeney ruled.
He concluded: "We propose to quash the sentence imposed and to substitute for it a sentence of nine months' imprisonment. "To that extent this appeal is allowed."

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