Ex-convict gets cleared of blackmail

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A FORMER prisoner said he can start living his life again after a jury cleared him of blackmailing a woman officer at a Doncaster jail.

Jurors at Doncaster Crown Court took less than an hour to find Michael Fieldhouse not guilty of blackmail and conspiracy to supply drugs to another inmate at HMP Lindholme in May of last year.

The 34-year-old had denied the allegations and claimed Rachael Klein made them up when she got into trouble for her inappropriate relationship with prisoner Steven Chapman.

Mr Fieldhouse was also an inmate at Lindholme at the same time and the prosecution claimed he had used love letters to threaten Klein with exposure if she didn’t smuggle cannabis and heroin substitute into the jail for him.

But the jury accepted the evidence of the defendant that he had never seen the letters and made no attempt to threaten Klein, who is 29.

After being freed to return to his home in Derwent Crescent, Barnsley, Mr Fieldhouse said he was pleased “the truth came out”.

He went on: “Obviously I’m delighted with the verdict but I still feel upset about this case being brought.

“It’s been hanging over me for months and I couldn’t plan my life.”

The landscape gardener said he told his three children about the case and also warned them he “might get locked up”.

He also planned to celebrate the news by going to the pub with friends.

He said: “Rachael Klein has a lot of explaining to do. I’m just glad the jurors believed me, they are ordinary people who can see through lies.

“I knew if I’d been convicted I might have got five or six years.”

He added: “I can start living my life again.”

Klein, of Stripe Road, Rossington, and Chapman, aged 27, who is still serving a sentence, will both be sentenced later this month.

She admits misconduct in public office and he has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to supply drugs.