A MAN who 'preyed' on his elderly grandparents, using emotional blackmail to harass and exploit them for money to buy drugs, has been jailed.

A judge today described Michael Ward's persistent offending and using blatant lies to get money from his family as 'despicable' and 'parasitical'.

The 31-year-old, now incarcerated at Bullingdon prison near Bicester but formerly of Kingfisher Green, Oxford, had already admitted four counts of breaching a restraining order.

That order was first put in place to protect his elderly grandparents, after he had allowed their home to be used by drug dealers.

Read also: Teens launch 'mindless football violence' in mass brawl outside Vue Cinema

At Oxford Crown Court he was jailed after he breached that order four times by contacting them on numerous occasions between August last year and January this year.

Outlining the case, prosecutor Russell Pyne detailed repeated efforts by Ward to contact his grandparents asking for money at various times.

Ward would claim he needed money for transportation, prosecutors said, or to pay solicitor fees.

Later, while he was in prison, he continued to contact his family and ask for money.

Police said that a bank account which Ward had asked for funds to be transferred to was connected to a drug dealer's account.

Read also: Live updates on coronavirus

In a victim personal statement his grandmother said that she was 'struggling' and had been left feeling vulnerable.

She added that she had brought Ward up and he now 'treats us like a bank.'

She said: "We constantly fall into his trap as we feel like we have a duty to try and help.

"The same thing happens over and over again, he spends the money on drugs."

She went on to say that she had been made to feel 'totally, emotionally drained by all of this'.

Prosecutors said that the woman had sent payments to Ward in the sum of several thousands of pounds during the period of offending.

Read also: Social distancing – are people in Oxfordshire taking it seriously?

In mitigation Ward's defence barrister Gordana Turudija-Austin said that her client had been raised by his grandparents – his ultimate victims.

She said he had suffered a traumatic bereavement when he was younger and had developed a drugs habit.

The court heard that during the period of offending his drugs misuse 'spiralled out of control' and he owed money to drug dealers.

She added that Ward was 'very sorry and remorseful about it'.

Sentencing, Judge Maria Lamb said that Ward had 'preyed' on his vulnerable victims.

She said: "This was parasitical behaviour by you.

"By the use of blatant lies you used emotional blackmail."

He was jailed for a total of 39 months and made subject to a restraining order indefinitely.

Ward must also pay a statutory victim surcharge.