South East Wales

Farhan Mirza jailed for blackmailing women with photos

Farhan Mirza Image copyright Wales News Service

A "sexual predator" has been jailed for eight and a half years for blackmailing Muslim women with intimate photos and videos taken without their knowledge.

Farhan Mirza, 38, of Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent, secretly filmed the women and threatened to share the footage before demanding money.

Mirza, who denied the charges, met some of the women on online dating sites.

He was jailed for voyeurism, blackmail, sexual assault, theft and fraud at Cardiff Crown Court.

During the trial, jurors heard Mirza had initially impressed his victims by claiming to be a doctor and hung surgical scrubs in his wardrobe and carried a stethoscope in his car.

He also claimed his family were highly educated professionals working in locations around the world.

But the court heard he was an IT worker at a college and worked as a part time taxi driver. He lived with his mother in a terraced house in Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent, at the time.

Jurors heard the "sexual predator" targeted Muslim women because of the "terror" and "embarrassment" they would have felt at having intimate photos and videos made public.

Image copyright Gwent Police
Image caption Farhan Mirza posing in medic's scrubs

But his lies were exposed after one of his victims found £70,000 in cash and hundreds of images of naked women, including a video of herself which she knew nothing about, at his home.

After the discovery, she said he threatened to blackmail her and she feared reprisals from ultra-religious groups such as the Taliban if a video of her was sent to her Pakistani family.

She eventually went to the police who discovered other women had been blackmailed by Mirza.

Sentencing Mirza, Judge Tom Crowther said in the case of his first victim, "you wanted to take her for everything you could get".

He said "that demonstrates the pure misogyny of how you were living off this scheme".

Mirza was described as "manipulative, deceitful and callous" by PC Pat Maguire, the officer in charge of the investigation for Gwent Police.

After the hearing, Mr Maguire said Mirza had shown "no remorse for his actions throughout this investigation".

"I would like to thank the victims for their courage to come forward and report these offences to the police," he said.

"They have shown great bravery and dignity throughout."

Image copyright Gwent Police

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