Pair who extorted Edinburgh photographer jailed

The pair were sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: TSPL
The pair were sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: TSPL
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TWO ruthless lovers who attempted to extort cash from an amateur photographer by threatening to expose his allegedly sleazy lifestyle have been jailed.

Garry Faulds, 21, and his 17-year-old fiancee Laura Colquhoun hatched a plot to force the 53-year-old man to hand over large amounts of cash.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how the man – who cannot be named for legal reasons – spent more than a year taking photographs of Colquhoun, an aspiring model.

He also said she had repeatedly performed a sex act on him and was receiving £150 per photo session.

However, the teenager allowed her boyfriend, who was wearing a balaclava and a blue boiler suit, to enter the local government employee’s home in the Scottish capital.

Faulds tied the man’s arms, legs and mouth with tape and threatened him with a gas canister. Faulds also repeatedly struck the man and told him he was a member of an Ulster loyalist terror group who could cause him serious injury.

He also said he would tell the man’s employer that he was taking illegal photographs of underage girls.

Yesterday Faulds’ advocate, John McElroy, said his client regretted his actions and quoted the words to a hit by Cher.

Mr McElroy added: “There is a practical realism on the part of Mr Faulds. He admitted his role in the offence and a guilty plea was offered to the Crown at an earlier stage of the process. This was refused.

“He regrets his actions. To paraphrase the words to a popular pop song, if he could turn back time, he would.”

Temporary judge Paul Arthurson, QC, sentenced Faulds to six years in prison. His girlfriend wept as she was given three years in detention.

The story emerged after Faulds and Colquhoun, of Paisley, were convicted last month of a charge of robbing, assaulting and threatening to extort cash from the man in August last year. Sentence had been deferred for reports.

The man – who works in a senior capacity for a local authority – has never been charged or prosecuted in connection with Faulds’ allegations.

During the trial, the victim told the court he met Colquhoun in 2012 and had conducted a number of photoshoots with her. He also said that she had performed a sex act on him on different occasions.

But moments before the last photoshoot started, the court heard the camera enthusiast encountered a man wearing a “blue jumpsuit” and a balaclava “with the eyes cut out” in his hallway.

The court heard the victim was assaulted, tied up with tape and threatened with a firearm and a gas canister.

Speaking about the alleged firearm, the man said: “It looked real enough.”

The court also heard evidence that Faulds – a member of an Orange flute band – boasted about having links to terror group, the Ulster Defence Association.

The court heard the “stranger” tried to access the photographer’s online bank account. However, he failed to get into the account and was locked out.

He then dialled the number of the man’s bank and told the man to tell staff at the call centre to unlock the account.

During the ordeal, the court also heard Colquhoun spoke to the stranger in the balaclava.

The court heard she allegedly said: “What are we going to do now, Garry?” and that they stole £800 and tried to extort another £500 from him.

Colquhoun’s solicitor, advocate Liam O’Donnell, asked Judge Arthurson not to jail his client.

However, the judge said custodial sentences were inevitable.