A “GULLIBLE and foolish” businessman who conveyed a cash offer to his pal’s former girlfriend in a bid to get her to drop a stalking complaint has been spared jail.

Wayne Humphrey acted as the middle man between Anthony Webb and Denise Bolt after the couple had broken up.

Miss Bolt had accused Webb of stalking her and her new boyfriend and the police had begun investigations.

But in an attempt to get Miss Bolt to drop her complaints, Humphrey was instructed to offer her £12,000, which would have come from the sale of the home the couple had lived in, but which was owned by Webb.

Yesterday, Ipswich Crown Court Judge John Devaux acknowledged Humphrey had been a “mere messenger” and handed him a six-month prison sentence, suspended for one year.

He told 46-year-old Humphrey: “This was one conversation heard over the phone with Miss Bolt.

“The conversation wasn’t repeated or persisted in and was one on behalf of Mr Webb and not yours.”

Judge Devaux added: “This offence undermines the system of criminal justice. However, this offence falls toward the lower end of seriousness.”

Richard Conley, mitigating, said: “Mr Humphrey is an honest and hard-working man, not predisposed to criminality.

“This was something done out of misguided loyalty to Mr Webb rather than a deliberate attempt by him to subvert the criminal process.

“This was an act of gullibility and foolishness.

“He was clearly but a messenger. He didn’t stand to benefit at all by his actions.”

Mr Conley added Humphrey, of Ash Grove, Colchester, had an “obvious reluctance” when he presented the offer to Miss Bolt and even began the conversation by saying: “Don’t shoot the messenger.”

Humphrey had denied perverting the course of justice but was found guilty by a jury after a seven-day trial.

His co-accused, bodyguard Anthony Webb, 44, of Holliland Croft, Great Tey, is convicted of two counts of stalking and one count of possessing a firearm and is yet to be sentenced.