A married father considered taking his own life after a “mean” couple threatened to make steamy Facebook messages he sent to a younger man public.

Jeremy Reeve and Lisa Glenwright attempted to sting their victim for £8,000.

The man, described in court as an older man who was married with children, paid out £5,000 before he went to police.

Glenwright, 33, was described as the driving force in the blackmail plot, and jailed for 18 months at Swindon Crown Court.

Her partner Reeve, 40, with whom she has two young children, was given an 18 month sentence suspended for two years and ordered to complete 300 hours of unpaid work despite health difficulties.

Sentencing the pair, Judge Jason Taylor QC said: “This was mean, this was calculated and together your actions were persistent and this was born out of greed not necessity.”

Prosecutor Tessa Hingston said the couple’s victim had known Reeve when the latter was growing up. The pair had had a sexual relationship although the timing was unclear.

In the summer 2018, the older man had contacted Reeve over Facebook, telling him he was struggling with his sexuality. Over several months the pair exchanged erotic images and pictures.

Reeve, who was struggling financially, was paid around £6,000 by the other man.

On November 8, Glenwright sent a message to a contact programmed in her phone as “Little Lady”. “Bills need to be paid,” she wrote, saying she would “message that t*** and tell him give me money or I’ll open my mouth. Ha, ha, ha.”

Three days later she texted her partner, who was in hospital. She asked him: “You spoken to that gay since I left? Are you trying to get money out of him?”

He replied: “I asked him for £200 and he said no.”

On November 19, Reeve made the first blackmail demand. He told the man he wanted £2,000, claiming his partner had found the explicit messages and implied she was threatening to expose them to the victim’s family. The £2,000 was paid into Reeve’s account.

On November 21, Glenwright told the victim she wanted £3,000 paid into her bank account by the end of the day. She said the messages were disgusting and had broken her family. The ransom demand was paid.

The following day the victim went to the police.

Reeve made his final demand – for £3,000 – on November 24.

The money was not paid. Instead, Reeve and Glenwright were arrested.

The former initially tried to say he alone made the ransom demands, until detectives told him his partner had admitted contacting the victim.

The blackmail plot had a devastating impact on the victim, the court heard.

He had contemplated ending his life, his family life had been affected and he was seeing a counsellor. He described himself as a shadow of his former self.

Glenwright and Reeve, both of Ogilvie Square, Calne, pleaded guilty to blackmail.

Matthew Harbinson, for Glenwright, said his client was genuinely remorseful. “She bitterly regrets what she did.

"It was undoubtedly felt by my client that this man had brought this to an extent on himself by contacting her partner by asking him what he did, sending him what he did and engaging in communication of that nature.”

The mother of three, who had grown up in care, was very worried about her own children – aged seven, nine and 15 – going into the care system.

Alejandra Tascon, for Reeve, said her client was struggling financially and had been “to an extent taken advantage of” by the victim of the blackmail. Reeve claimed he had been sexually abused by the man when he was growing up. A complaint had been made to the police in the wake of his arrest in 2018, but police had found his story contradictory and the court heard no charges had yet been brought.

Sentencing the pair, Judge Taylor said: “It may only have been six days but those six days will have been a hellish ordeal.”

Under the terms of his suspended sentence, Reeve must do 300 hours of unpaid work and complete 30 rehabilitation days and a six-month curfew.