Leighton Buzzard Man Cleared Of Blackmailing Family Friend Who Killed Himself

Leighton Buzzard Man Cleared Of Blackmailing Family Friend Who Killed Himself

5:48pm 3rd September 2014

A Leighton Buzzard man has been cleared of blackmailing a family friend who killed himself after being told he was going to be exposed as a paedophile.

Robert Barton, who lives on Wyngates, allegedly told 62-year-old Peter Hallams he'd reveal he was a paeodophile if he didn't give him £500.

After being sent a series of threatening text messages, Mr Hallams gassed himself on his house boat in Leighton Buzzard.

Prosecutor Neil King  told Luton crown court said another text message sent on 26 May last year read: "When you have got money text me and I will give you an account to put it in. £500 or prison. Make your choice."

A day later another text read:  "I am coming to the Black Lion to tell everyone." On that occasion he asked for £30. 

On 29 May Mr Hallams complained to the police about Mr Barton. An officer visited him at his barge, which was moored near Jewson's, on the Grand Union Canal. A report was logged but Mr Hallams said he did not want any action taken.

Then on 3 June Mr Hallams took his own life, gassing himself using the petrol generator on his barge. He sent a friend Craig Wharton a message saying: "Thanks for everything mate. I don't want to do this. I have had enough. Kill that f****t... for me i.e. Robert." He sent Barton a message that read: "You have done it now mate. Hope you are happy now. This will haunt you."

Mr Wharton discovered his body at ten to eight that morning.

Opening the case, Mr King said Peter Hallams had known the Barton family for many years and when he was younger Robert Barton went to his boat a number of times.

Mr Barton, of Wyngates, Leighton Buzzard, denies blackmail and was cleared by a jury of 9 women and 3 men after less than an hour.

He told the jury he wanted to get money to prove to the police Mr Hallams was a paedophile.

Defence barrister Tim Clark told the jury that Barton "was not an angel."

He said he had taken drugs, had dyslexia and autism and had criminal convictions. But he said Peter Hallams was a paedophile. In a call to Barton's brother he Mr Hallams came close to confessing that the abuse did occur. When Mr Hallam's phone was examined it showed he had an interest in young men having used search terms such as  "Boy crush", "Boy Feast" and "Only Dudes."

Mr Clark went on: "This prosecution was brought to defend the rights of paedophiles against their victims. My client believed he was getting evidence. It was not about getting money."

After the verdict, Judge Michael Kay QC told Barton he was free to go and granted him a costs order of £55 to cover his travel expenses to court.

Share This Story

Delicious Submit this page to reddit
Email Icon Get the latest local news direct to your inbox.
Sign up now for our email updates
.

Comments

No comments have been posted and approved yet.

Submit a Comment

Please log in to comment on this page.

Suggested articles
Guy Stapleford

London-Brighton cycle & back: Man's latest charity challenge

Guy Stapleford is doing a whole host of challenges for Make A Wish

Gary_Hart.original

UPDATED: Man from High Wycombe found after two days

Gary Hart hadn't been seen since Tuesday

Most read
Police

Two people stabbed in Wycombe

Police are linking two attacks this afternoon

Police

Woman raped in Aylesbury

The victim, in her 20s, is being supported by specialist police officers

Newer article

Missing Chesham Man Leaves Home Without Wallet Or Phone Five Days Ago

Local: Growing concern over a missing Chesham man who hasn't been seen since leaving his home last Saturday without a wallet or phone.

Older article

Autism Facilities Set To Close At Aylesbury School

Local: The council may make changes at Elmhurst Primary School in Aylesbury.

Top articles

Roadworks round-up: What will affect your journey this week?

Local: Here's the latest list from Transport for Bucks

Labour's John McDonnell: Grenfell Tower victims 'were murdered'

National: Labour's John McDonnell has told a Glastonbury crowd the victims of the Grenfell tower block fire "were murdered by political decisions".

HS2: 'It's Stolen My Time & Things I'd Promised Myself For 40 Years'

Local: Stan Mason is 79 and has been fighting the High Speed route for over 6 years. We wanted to see how that's affected him

Jeremy Corbyn gets rapturous reception at Glastonbury

Showbiz: It was a scene that could have come from a Beatles gig in the 1960s.

Southampton appoint Mauricio Pellegrino as new manager

Sport: Southampton have appointed Mauricio Pellegrino as their new manager on a three-year deal.

Spain forest fire: More than 1,500 evacuated

World: Around 1,500 people have been evacuated from homes, campsites and hotels after a forest fire erupted in southern Spain.

Cabinet reshuffle: Our MPs' roles

Local: Here's how the cabinet reshuffle today has affected our local MPs