Online Poker Berserker Jailed For Three MonthsOctober 15, 2011 8:33 am
An online poker player who lost almost £19,000 ($30,000) before threatening the company’s Isle of Man head office via e-mail, has now received a three month jail sentence by a UK court.
Michael Gallagher, 35, of Redcar, North Yorkshire, was so incensed after losing the money over a year period between June 2010 and May 2011, that he threatened to massacre the company’s staff at the unamed online poker site unless they paid him £30,000 ($50,000).
Before his trial was about to take place, Gallagher admitted to the lesser charge of ‘sending an electronic communication conveying a threat’ instead of the more serious charge of ‘blackmail,’ which could have carried up to a 14 year sentence.
Judge Peter Fox even expressed surprise that the blackmail charge had been dropped against Gallagher, as he considered the case to bear all the hallmarks of blackmail. In his e-mail, the unemployed man threatened to shoot the online poker site’s staff with a sawn-off shotgun, with his communication continuing:
“I hope you take me seriously because I swear to God I’m going to do it. I will have my vengeance. I have planned this for six months. It’s what makes me sleep a night.”
“Drifting off to sleep, thinking about what I am going to do, knowing full well that the butchering I do will get you exposed for what you are… I will gladly take a life sentence for that. Believe me, it will be my finest hour… $50,000 in my account, or believe me, you will all be dead.”
The next morning, however, a contrite Michael Gallagher tried to pass off the incident as merely drunken behaviour and sent a follow-up e-mail expressing regret. The online poker site understandably were not prepared to take any risks and so Gallagher was arrested the next day, although no guns were found on his property.
Dismissing his drunken excuse, Judge Fox told Gallagher: “It is no excuse, at all, that you were affected by drink.”