'If it's not in at 10am there will be murder': Troll dad used girlfriend's Facebook to blackmail brothers out of THOUSANDS
Two petrified brothers gave away their life savings to a Facebook troll who made chilling ransom demands and threatened the lives of their family.
Gary Galvin created as many as ten fake social media accounts to torment the brothers, threatening them with murder and vowing harm to their family members and pets if they did not pay ransoms.
His girlfriend Kelly Marshall, 27, allowed her Facebook account to be used in the blackmail plot.
The brothers were left 'terrified' and sold personal belongings and took out loans to pay Galvin, who sent a slew of vile messages over a ten month period.
They paid him 90 instalments totalling over £12,000, Minshull Street Crown Court heard, leaving them 'financially ruined'.
In one instance, Gavin pretended to be a woman and sent them a message saying: ''If you don’t pay up you will get visited through the door.''
Another message read: ''Ur getting me extremely angry, Reply or I’ll be at the door in 20 minutes. I literally don’t care but if it’s not in at 10am there will be murder. I’ll even stomp ur cat n dog. I’m not messing so don’t ask for time or anything like that it just p..ses me off more.''
A further message said: ''I don’t care u best sell some sh.t or something fast. U guaranteed now Iv got big people expecting that money I’m seriously gonna hurt (your parents) I’m not joking.''
'My brother and I are financially ruined'
The brothers, named only as ''Mr M'' and ''Mr C'' in court, were too frightened to report Galvin for months but eventually went to police with their mother. Their total loss was £12,007.
Officers traced Galvin, of Ryecroft Close, Ashton-Under-Lyne, through a Wi-fi account he was using at the time. It is not known if the social media giant itself helped police hunt the troll down.
In a statement, Mr M said: ''These offences caused a massive strain on the family. Every time I blocked this man on Facebook, other Facebook accounts would appear and I didn't know which way to turn.
''I was on edge and worried all the time due to the threats and constant barrage of messages and demands.
"My brother and I are financially ruined and we're in debt by many thousands of pounds.
"In order just to stay afloat I have to sell items of my own property which I did not want to part with.
''I had to take time off work because he was worrying about being my home being attacked,'' Mr C said: ''I was scared for myself and my family and I feared the threats would be carried out.
"I have struggled to recover financially and I almost lost his car through inability to pay.''
Father-of-three Galvin admitted two charges of blackmail and was jailed for 32 months.
Marshall, 27, also of Ashton-under-Lyne, was given two years in jail suspended for 20 months after she admitted intentionally encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence.
She also allowed her bank account to be used to field most of the ransom money.
Brother persuaded to send cash payments to Marshall's Facebook account
The blackmail plot began in January 2017 after Mr M began messaging a woman on Facebook known as ''Katie Marie'' - the account of which belonged to Marshall and featured pictures of her.
John Richards, prosecuting, said: ''During conversations over Facebook Messenger, Katie Marie indicated she would be happy to meet him personally and he disclosed his home address, including his postcode and his house number.
"Katie Marie told him she needed £60 for the train fare to go to meet him and Mr M transferred the money into Kelly Marshall’s Natwest bank account.
''But Katie Marie then sent him a message stating she had spent the money and she required more cash.
"He transferred another £60 upon which further Facebook Messenger messages followed with convincing explanations regarding why she needed additional money.
''Mr M never met Katie Marie or a woman purporting to be Katie Marie but was persuaded to make seven further payments in the belief he was transferring money to her.
"He then received the first of many threats over Facebook Messenger purporting to be from Katie Marie. The threats concerned demands for him to transfer more money and included threats.
''Mr M understood the threats to concern threats that were he not to pay, his home address would be visited and he and his family would be attacked.
"At that time, he lived with his parents who he described as being 'elderly and suffer from ailments which make them vulnerable’.
''Forced through fear as a result of the threats made to him over Facebook Messenger, Mr M then made frequent payments on a regular basis.
"He described himself as not knowing ‘where to turn’ and by mid-March 2017, he had taken out bank loans having exhausted his savings to pay the blackmail.
''Mr M blocked the Facebook accounts that were sending him threats, but then he received messages from further Facebook accounts which took their place as the conduit for unwarranted demands for money with menaces.
''In fear and in financial ruin he turned to his brother Mr C for financial assistance. Mr C then made 23 online bank transfers to Kelly Marshall’s bank account of amounts between £79 and £400.''
Messages via Facebook Messenger from a ‘John Stone’ included threats such as: ''U little f..king mong watch wat happens now uv got an hour. I’m literally sending a van now. I’m giving you one last chance n then doors r going in. Gonna stamp all over ur cat n dog. On way n your all dead.''
Another message from a Facebook account in the name of 'Bobby Gee’ said: ''I’m sorry mate but its 200 tomorrow n if its not there by 4 pm I will be pouring petrol through your letter box.''
In total, Mr M personally transferred £4,590 whilst Mr C sent £7,417. Galvin was arrested in December 2017 but made no comment in police interview.
Marshall admitted allowing Galvin to use her bank and Facebook accounts but claimed to know nothing of the threats.
Sentencing, Judge Mark Savill told them: ''These were very nasty threats of violence. It must have been one can only imagine an intensely unpleasant and traumatic period of anxiety for the victims and their family.
"This was very large amount of money for victims who in my view were very, very unable to pay and find that sort of money without considerable financial difficulties. It was a massive strain on them.''
A third defendant Seamus Conroy, 33, of Brinnington, Stockport admitted money laundering and ordered to complete a community order and told to wear an electronic tag for four weeks as part of a 7pm to 7am curfew.