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JAILED: Blackmailer demanded £10,000 from girlfriend and ordered her to grow drugs

A blackmailer has been jailed for eight years after being found guilty of demanding £10,000 from his terrified girlfriend.

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Kieran Taplin

Kieran Taplin, who regularly insulted and assaulted the victim, also ordered her to start growing cannabis after his eight-plant crop was found in a police swoop on a friend's house, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

Mr Matthew Barnes, prosecuting, said the defendant had deliberately chosen his girlfriend because she was so vulnerable.

The 31-year-old father of four's 94 previous offences included violent attacks on former partners.

His victim told police: "I am still in fear of him and what he might do. I am terrified just thinking about him."

She said the experience had left her depressed with low self esteem and suffering from panic attacks.

The prolific criminal also landed in trouble on August 15 last year while at the wheel of an Audi that had been stolen in a car key burglary in Belbroughton 12 days earlier.

He was wanted by the police and saw a patrol car while preparing to park in Thorns Road, Quarry Bank, and drove away at speed in the Audi which was on false plates but he was recognised by one of the officers.

Taplin was out of sight before they could follow him but two hours later he was spotted in Netherton and travelled at twice the speed limit, going straight through a red light and ramming a police car, the court was told.

Then he got trapped in heavy traffic where the police seized the opportunity to arrest the wanted man by crashing into his stolen car and bring it to a halt.

Taplin, from Vicarage Road, Stourbridge, who admitted two charges of dangerous driving as well as driving while disqualified without insurance, handling the stolen Audi and being in possession of a lock knife.

He was also convicted of blackmail, assault and criminal damage after a trial.

Judge Rhona Campbell jailed him for a total of eight years and told him: "Your pattern of offending shows arrogance and complete disregard for anyone other than yourself."

Speaking after the hearing, Detective Sergeant Adam Smith from West Midlands Police, said: “Taplin was one of our most wanted people just prior to his arrest.

“He is quite simply a violent, drug-fuelled offender who posed a significant risk to vulnerable women, members of the public, and us as officers.

"I am glad we have now been able to bring this dangerous person to justice and protect his victim from coming to any further harm at his hands."

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