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Jilted Hapton lover in blackmail plot
6:00pm Wednesday 8th January 2014 in News
A COCAINE smuggler tried to blackmail his love rival out of £100,000 while still serving a 16-year prison sentence, a court was told.
Lee Morgan, 47, jailed seven years ago, had been overjoyed at the prospect of returning to his wife Lorraine, who he had had a 31-year relationship with, as his long sentence came to an end.
But he had then found out his ex-brother-in-law Murray Dawson had had an affair with her.
The distraught father-of-two, who was at Kirkham Prison, was being allowed out during the day on a pre-release scheme and had been working for a hospice.
He took advantage of being outside the prison walls to make increasing demands for cash from his sister's former husband.
Morgan, an ex-roofer, was said to have threatened to paralyse Mr Dawson and put him in a wheelchair and had told him, ‘I'm in prison but I can still get you,’ Burnley Crown Court heard.
The hearing was told Morgan, who had instructed the victim to write him a cheque, claimed obtaining money was not his primary motive.
He was said to be devastated over what went on between his wife and Mr Dawson and wanted emotional revenge and to make him suffer as he had.
The defendant, formerly of Lyndale Road, Hapton, admitted demanding £100,000 from the victim with menaces between May 16 and June 2 and was given a 20- month jail term.
Morgan was one of eight men locked up for a total of 112 years over a £6.5million plot to flood East Lancashire with South American drugs. He was the right-hand man of Dutch smuggler Johan Ranft and they had worked together to bring cocaine to the area in a boat from Brazil.
The gang had been caught after the yacht, with £100,000 worth of drugs stashed aboard, broke down off the coast of Ireland.
The defendant's earliest release date was this May.
The court was told how Mr Dawson had lived in a property in the grounds of a farmhouse owned by Morgan's family.
Prosecutor Rachel Cooper said the defendant had known Mr Dawson for over 20 years and had supported him during a bitter divorce from Morgan's sister.
Keith Harrison, for Morgan, said: “He broke the trust of those who had released him for work.
“The question of money was not the defendant's idea. It was Mr Dawson who suggested financial reward. The marriage was now over.”
Sentencing, Judge Beverley Lunt said Morgan had been behaving in a very irrational manner, and was plainly very upset, but none of that excused what he did.