A MAN has pleaded guilty to blackmailing an Oxford gene and cell therapy company for £300,000 worth of Bitcoin.

Ashley Liles, of Fleetwood, Hertfordshire, has been charged with unauthorised computer access with intent to commit an offence and blackmail. 

The 28-year-old gained access to an unauthorised computer between February 28, 2018, and March 13, 2018. 

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He is accused of using this computer to blackmail Oxford BioMedica after making an ‘unwarranted demand’ for £300,000 in Bitcoin, which is a virtual currency.

Liles also pleaded guilty to the unauthorised modification of computer material between February 16, 2018, and March 13, 2018.

He originally denied the charges and was due to stand trial today at Reading Crown Court (May 17).

However, the trial has since cracked after Liles pleaded guilty to both counts.

The case has now been adjourned for sentencing at the same court on July 11.