A MAN has been jailed for his role as ‘muscle’ in a Bembridge blackmail, and for ruthlessly defrauding a pensioner of £160,000 into thinking he was saving his girlfriend’s life in Ghana.

Kwaku Achampong, of Chantry Road, Lupset, Wakefield, appeared before a judge at Isle of Wight Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday).

At a previous hearing in April, the 32-year-old admitted to blackmailing Bembridge between November 5 and November 11, 2021.

He also admitted to having defrauded, on September 16 and 27, collecting cash totaling £160,000.

How did Achampong blackmail the Isle of Wight?

Prosecutor Leigh Hart told the court Achampong traveled from Wakefield in Yorkshire to the Isle of Wight and asked for directions to a particular house.

He delivered two packages to the wrong address, in Bembridge, on November 5, 2021.

The occupant of the house – a woman – opened them by mistake and found them contained in a blackmail letter addressed to a man, referred to in court as Mr S, to protect his anonymity.

The letter demanded payment worth £100,000 into a bank account in Germany and came with a DVD and nude photos of the victim.

The envelopes and their contents were handed over to the police.

The court heard that failure to pay would result in the photos being disseminated in the Bembridge area and in the media.

On the same day, the victim received a video showing the approach to the house where the parcels had been wrongfully dropped off.

He then received three more messages and an email, threatening to burn down his house and his boat if he did not pay.

Over the phone, he was told he would be killed if he did not comply with the request.

The caller told the victim he had been paid £20,000 to carry out a mission he intended to honor – collecting £100,000 from the victim.

On Monday, November 8, the victim went to Newport Police Station to report the blackmail and received another call making further threats.

With advice from the police, arrangements were made for the cash to be handed over to a Tesco car park on the island.

Messages sent to the victim included video taken on board a Red Funnel ferry, and police investigations revealed that a white BMW with Achampong registration made the journey on November 5.

On November 11, Achampong was observed approaching the victim’s car, taking a bag of cash from the trunk.

He was immediately arrested by armed police and an iphone and other devices were seized.

Ms Hart said Achampong did not play the main role in the blackmail, but a large and central role nonetheless, effectively acting as “the muscle”.

How did the police discover Achampong’s involvement in fraud?

The fraud charges were discovered during the forensic examination of Achampong’s devices.

On September 27, 2021, it was revealed that Achampong traveled from Wakefield to Gloucester Services to meet a 67-year-old man and collect £60,000 in cash.

A “Martin from Germany” had asked him to make this trip, the same way he had asked him to make the trip to the Isle of Wight for blackmail.

It was revealed on September 16 that Achampong had already made a trip to meet the same victim at the same location, raising £100,000.

The victim told police he was communicating online with someone he believed to be a 35-year-old American living in Ghana.

He said he believed they were in a relationship via Whatsapp, and she told him she wanted to move to the UK to be with him.

He agreed to be her sponsor and started sending her money, and she later told him she had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and needed £160,000 for treatment.

The sum was transferred via Paypal, but the victim was informed that the money was still outstanding and a request was made for payment in cash, and so the collection was arranged.

Achampong’s bank account showed that he received payments on both dates for his role in committing the fraud offences.

What did Achampong have to say about himself?

Defending Jim Osborne said Achampong was paid for his role but was not the chief of the operation – merely a side player.

He said he knew he had committed a criminal offense to make a profit for someone else and deeply regretted the role he had played.

Mr Osborne told the court that Achampong was married with four children and fully sympathized with the victims.

He said he linked up with “Martin from Germany” through his uncle who fell ill and this Martin paid for his medical bills.

Achampong was described as the man in the field doing the bidding for a superior, and “Martin from Germany” had been the mastermind.

DC Anthony Daniels of the Isle of Wight Investigation Team said: ‘Achampong has embarked on a ruthless and manipulative campaign fueled by greed.

“The men who were victims of these horrific crimes have been greatly affected by Achampong’s delinquency.

“Achampong has traveled across the country to pursue these evil deeds, and he will now pay the price for his involvement in this.”

The judge, Richard Parkes, declared blackmailing Achampong to be a horrible and vicious crime, and jailed him for six years and nine months.

He must pay a victim surcharge of £190.