Tyrone woman tried to blackmail man over ‘acrimonious’ land dispute


A Co Tyrone woman walked free from court yesterday with a suspended sentence after she admitted trying to blackmail a man during an “acrimonious” land dispute.

Sharon Marie McElroy, 47, of Tattysallagh Road, Dromore, had previously pleaded guilty to “demanding money with menaces” from the man who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

At a sentencing hearing yesterday at Omagh Crown Court, Judge Paul Ramsey QC said mother-of-one McElroy had been involved in an “acrimonious property dispute that had been ongoing for a number of years” with the victim.

The court heard that matters came to a head on July 23, 2014, when McElroy got into her car and drove to the man’s home and personally handed him a letter.

The judge said the letter contained an “unsubstantiated allegation” and said that if he didn’t withdraw from the legal proceedings relating to the dispute she would make public the allegation.

The victim was “left distressed” by the contents of the letter and, after seeking legal advice, contacted the police.

Judge Ramsey QC said that at police interview McElroy made full admissions, saying she had “acted spontaneously without thinking of the consequences”.

The sentence was suspended for a period of two years.