A JUDGE condemned the actions of a Bournemouth blackmailer for his “wicked” crime.

The letter sent by David Kennett demanding money had a “devastating” impact and left lives “in ruins”, Bournemouth Crown Court heard.

Kennett, 48 and of Leven Avenue, Bournemouth, appeared by video link from custody for the sentencing hearing on August 20, having previously pleaded guilty to a single charge of blackmail.

Judge Keith Cutler, who jailed the defendant for two years, said: “How on earth a man with your background, at 48 years of age, came to do such a wicked thing, I cannot understand.

“The core of this offence is the letter of blackmail that you sent.”

Prosecuting, Charles Gabb said that Kennett had clearly planned the offence, which was committed in June, with a draft of the letter he sent found at his address.

The prosecutor said the recipient of the letter decided not to give in to the threats and reported the matter to the police, who set about a stake out.

Cash was placed in a bag and left at the time and location specified by the defendant and officers watched on from nearby.

The court heard the defendant arrived at the scene purporting to be a dog walker and police watched him collect the bag.

Kennett headed off from the area but he was intercepted by police.

A dog unit was brought in and found the package where it had been torn open.

“The defendant was arrested,” said Mr Gabb. “Effectively he had been caught red handed. He was taken to the police station. In interview he made no comment."

Mr Gabb said the blackmail episode had a “devastating affect”. Details on the contents or subject of the letter were not disclosed in court.

Mitigating, Kevin Hill said the behaviour was short lived.

Mr Hill said it was his submission that the real reason for the commission of the offence was mainly to do with the mental state of Kennett at the time.

“He wants to leave the area (after he is released) and move close to where his sister lives in the north of the country,” said Mr Hill. “For a fresh start.”

Addressing the impact the offence had, Judge Cutler told Kennett: “They were devastated and you had no real thought or insight about that impact, on how that would have happened and did in fact happen.”