'BIZARRE': Sex tape extortion by church biker on widow
A CHURCH biker who used a sex tape to extort a now-dead club member and his widow, has been sentenced for behaviour described by a judge as "about as Un-Christian as possible".
Patrick O'Sullivan, the road captain of the Gympie charter of the Tribe of Judah Motorcycle Ministries (TOJMM), pleaded guilty in Hervey Bay District Court to two counts of extortion.
The court heard another member of the club was in possession of an incriminating video and images showing the victim engaging in sex acts with two females.
O'Sullivan, together with a third man was brought in on a plan to demand the victim hand over his $15,000 Harley Davidson motorbike, for which they promised to crush the USB containing the incriminating footage.
The 54-year-old man was said to have initially expressed reservations in text messages to his co-accused before caving and organising a meeting between them and the victim on April 6.
There, after demanding back TOJMM property, the three men left the victim to think over whether he would surrender the bike, which his wife was part owner of, with transfer registration paperwork.
That afternoon the victim told his wife what had been going on. She told him the marriage was over and left to try and convince the accused men not to take the motorcycle.
"Text messages indicate they were all aware (she) was a part owner and she did not want it taken," Crown prosecutor Gavin Webber said.
Numerous times that day, the victim told family members the three defendants should be investigated in the case of his death for blackmail and they would not be getting his motorcycle.
By 8pm, the victim followed through with his suicide threats and was found dead on his property.
The court heard that over the course of the next few days, two of the men tried to contact the victim's wife.
After learning the victim was dead, O'Sullivan attempted to blackmail the victim's grieving widow through text under the alleged instruction of another defendant.
A threat to send the sexual footage to the man's friends, family, police and the wider church community was read out in court.
Defence barrister James Benjamin tendered references which spoke to O'Sullivan's good character from the reverend of Gympie Wesleyan Methodist Church and a colleague at Queensland Rail where O'Sullivan had worked for more than 30 years.
Mr Benjamin said the father-of-three had never been before the courts and was a long-time church-goer who had been involved with the TOJMM and community work for the last decade.
O'Sullivan claimed he was not the driving force behind the extortion attempts and was influenced by the personality and position of another defendant.
The court heard O'Sullivan returned to confess details to police after his initial interview because he couldn't stand lying although his co-accused denied involvement.
Mr Benjamin argued even if the video had been handed to police, the victim may still have taken his own life as he was afraid of an alleged offence on the video coming to light.
Judge Ian Dearden said almost everything about the actions of O'Sullivan and his co-accused was about "as unchristian as possible".
"How grown and mature men thought this was even vaguely an appropriate way to behave escapes me," he said.
"(You have expressed) significant regret at not having bailed out of this bizarre, stupid and serious criminal matter."
Mr Dearden accepted if the video evidence had come from anyone or alternatively from confrontation with police, the victim's suicide might have occurred.
"But it does not take away from the tragedy of loss of life and profound sadness to his family no matter what he was doing himself with criminal offences," he said.
O'Sullivan's wife of 33 years was in the court supporting him when he was convicted and sentenced to two-and-a- half years imprisonment wholly suspended for four years for each count of extortion.
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