Page last updated at 12:57 GMT, Friday, 25 April 2008 13:57 UK

Blackmailing designer avoids jail

Audi TT
The Audi TT was one of the cars Lloyd-Parker claimed to have designed

A man who tried to extort money from three US car designers and accused them of illegally developing his creations has been given a suspended jail term.

Guy Lloyd-Parker had been found guilty of three counts of blackmail this year.

He claimed sketches stolen by two college lecturers had led to designs such as the Audi TT, the BMW Z5, Mazda RX-8 and the Volvo XC90 being produced.

Lloyd-Parker, 46, of south-east London, was given a 51-week sentence suspended for two years at Southwark Crown Court.

California-based Volvo director Geza Loczi was among those targeted, the court heard.

Menacing demands

He received letters at both home and work warning he would be exposed as a "parasite, liar, thief and cheat" if he did not pay $75,000 dollars (37,682) within hours.

He told jurors via video link the "menacing demands" left him frightened for "myself and my family".

Former BMW and Aston designer Henrik Fisker - who now heads his own company creating and selling high performance sports cars -and Mazda designer Tsutomu Matano, were also targeted.

All three explained their designs were their own, and nothing to do with the defendant.

Mental disorder

In sentencing him, Recorder Elizabeth Slade QC said because blackmail is "so serious" it usually results in immediate jail time.

But she noted that he had been suffering from a mental disorder at the time which had left him "delusional" and was a man of relatively good character and had not committed any further offences since his arrest in February 2006.

Running concurrently on each count Lloyd-Parker was also given a two-year supervision order, banned from contacting any of the three victims and must also get mental health treatment.

In evidence he maintained a total of 95 car designs were stolen from him while he was studying at the London College of Fashion in 1994.


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