Donington man fails in bid to get blackmail jail sentence lifted

Court news.
Court news.

A boxing enthusiast who waged a campaign of intimidation against a ticket-selling website after demanding £650,000 has failed in a bid to clear his name.

Ross Connor mounted an aggressive and menacing campaign against Viagogo.

He went on the warpath after some tickets he sold for an Arsenal match were confiscated from the people who bought them.

The 35-year-old, who lived in Town Dam Lane, Donington, when sentenced, was locked up for three years.

At the Old Bailey in August last year, he was found guilty of blackmail and was also handed a restraining order.

Connor challenged his conviction at the Court of Appeal, in London, arguing crucial evidence was left out of his trial and the judge misdirected the jury.

But his complaints were thrown out by two of the country’s top judges, who said he received a fair trial and his conviction was “safe”.

The court heard Connor was wrongly allowed to sell tickets to Arsenal’s clash with Bayern Munich in the 2013 Champions League through the site. The German fans who bought the tickets were seated among Arsenal fans and were removed from the ground after celebrating their team’s goal.

Connor demanded compensation from Viagogo, and was paid £12,500 for the cost of the tickets and his trouble.

But, unsatisfied with the reimbursement, he waged a campaign against the firm and its employees, going to their head office and photographing staff.

He warned staff would be “in danger” if the company didn’t pay him what he wanted and urged people on Twitter to attack the firm’s director, Ed Parkinson.

Eventually, he discovered Mr Parkinson’s home address and sent a sympathy card to his wife. He warned her that, if her husband didn’t contact him, there would be violent consequences.

In documents he prepared himself, Connor argued his conviction was unsafe because the judge didn’t direct the jury properly on the 
offence of blackmail.

He also said email evidence from his computer was not included in the trial and should have been.

However, rejecting his appeal bid, Mr Justice Dove said the judge’s directions could not be faulted. Connor was the “author of his own misfortune” in relation to the computer as he refused to tell police the password.

Sitting with Mr Justice King, the judge added: “We are entirely satisfied that the jury were impeccably directed as to the legal ingredients of the offence of blackmail.”