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Blackmailers targeted British royal with gay sex claims
Two men tried to blackmail a member of the royal family with claims he had performed a gay sex act, a London court heard Tuesday.
Ian Strachan and Sean McGuigan demanded 50,000 pounds in return for not publicising mobile phone footage including allegations about the unidentified royal, a prosecutor said.
The recordings also contained “scandalous and disparaging remarks” about other royals, as well as allegations of “impropriety” about the victim’s business affairs, the Central Criminal Courtwas told.
The royal in question cannot be identified, and was referred to in court only as witness A.
Both defendants have denied the charge that they made “an unwarranted demand with menaces.”
In early 2007 property developer Strachan, 30, and McGuigan, 40, made a series of audio and video recordings of a man who had been employed for some years by the royal, said prosecutor Mark Ellison.
Much of the eight hours of audio and video files was recorded when the man was drunk or “under the influence of other substances.”
“He was also shown recounting stories and alleged experiences, making allegations of impropriety as to how his employer conducted aspects of his business,” Ellison said.
“And there were three audio files of the man apparently asserting that the member of the royal family who employed him had performed an act of oral sex on him,” he added.
The recordings contained material which would have potential to “cause embarrassment and hurt to his employer” and a number of other members of the extended royal family, he said.
The men approached newspapers and a leading publicist seeking a “substantial sum” for the material, but failed and so turned their efforts to trying to blackmail the royal, said the prosecutor.
The pair were caught after they went to a meeting at a London hotel on September 11. They thought they were going to see a representative of the alleged royal victim but it was really an undercover officer, the court heard.
April 19, 2008
London’s Gay Pride Celebrations Bigger in 2008
London will again send out a message to the world through it’s annual Gay Pride that it is a diverse capital city that is a safe place for gay men and women to live or to visit.
And this year’s event, with the massive parade through some of the capital’s best known streets on Saturday July 5, is to be bigger and better than ever, Pride London chair Paul Birrell promised this week.
“Following the enormous success of the Pride events in June 2007, and all the feedback we received from people who took part, our aim is to create an even bigger and better event for 2008,” he said.
“We will continue to work closely with the Mayor of London to develop this free, world-class event, with the aim of attracting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) community from London, across the UK and internationally.”
Mayor of London Ken Livingstone, who is seeking re-election in May, described Pride London as “a key event for London” as a great world city.
“The capital is home to the largest, most diverse lesbian and gay population in Europe and this event, attended by people of all sexualities, sends out a clear signal that London welcomes and is a safe place for lesbians and gay men to live in and visit,” the Mayor said.
Birrell said that Pride Day itself will feature an even bigger parade, with float sponsors linking up with LGBT groups and charities to support them.
The parade itself will be through the West End and will be followed by the massive ‘free event’ in Trafalgar Square, as well as events in Leicester Square and Soho.
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January 14, 2008