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Blackmailer put taxi driver through harrowing ordeal

Jonathon Lusher was jailed by a judge at Canterbury Crown Court
Jonathon Lusher was jailed by a judge at Canterbury Crown Court

A MAN who threatened to break the legs of a taxi driver unless he handed over cash, has been jailed for 26 months.

Jonathon Lusher, 29, demanded cash from the cabbie who had bitten his son's arm.

He also told victim Martin Holder he would be put inside his burning car unless more money was handed over, Canterbury Crown Court heard.

Judge Michael O'Sullivan said the taxi driver was left "petrified, confused and crying" by his harrowing ordeal.

Mr Holder paid more than £100 to Lusher before the strain got too much and he went to the police, the court was told.

Lusher, 29, of St Mildred's Close, Canterbury, was convicted of blackmail and was given a two-year sentence, with another two months added for a bail offence.

He had denied the charge.

The demands were made after Mr Holder bit Lusher's son to teach him a lesson after the child had bitten Mr Holder's son. Mr Holder later admitted common assault and was fined £200, with £50 costs.

But before he appeared before magistrates, Lusher came to see Mr Holder, saying he wanted to talk. He said he was "that close" to breaking Mr Holder's legs and that if he did not want that to happen, he was going to have to pay Lusher money.

Mr Holder explained: "Lusher said he had friends who could break into my house and stab me and my family when I was asleep and make it look like burglary.

"They would give me a hiding and put me in the taxi and set light to it, with me in it.

"He suggested I name a sum and I said £100 a week until Christmas. He said he was doing it that way to drop the charges because he didn't want his family or friends in the papers."

The two men met later at Sainsbury's and Mr Holder gave Lusher £50. Lusher also called him later from a call box and Mr Holder picked him and a woman and child up in his taxi. Lusher held his hand out for the rest of the money.

Mr Holder said: "He demanded an extra £100, with an extra £20 a week on top. I didn't have that sort of money."

He gave Lusher £15, another £35 was to be collected later. Mr Holder said he later broke down in tears and went to the police.

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