Four people have today (December 21) been sentenced to over 44 years in jail for their part in the kidnap of a man from Preston and trying to blackmail his brother.Advertisement
Luke Anderson, 25, of Samuel Street, Preston was sentenced 12 years imprisonment; Stephen Helm, 35, of no fixed address was jailed for 12 years; Aaron Hampson, 27, of Mansfield Crescent, Nelson was handed a 12-year sentence and Jordan Fowler, 21, of Marlborough Drive, Walton-Le-Dale was jailed for eight years and four months for conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to blackmail.
Christopher Darragh, 50, of Princess Street, Preston was handed a six month jail term for perverting the course of justice after providing false information to the police about the car used during the kidnap.
The 15-hour ordeal started on January 25 at around 8pm when the victim, a 36-year-old Preston man, was beaten, had his hands tied behind his back with cable ties and bundled into the boot of a silver Lexus car by Mr Anderson, Mr Hampson, Mr Helm, and Mr Fowler near to his home on Malvern Avenue in Avenham.
He was then moved on to a remote location at Shuttling Fields Lane, Bamber Bridge, where he was threatened further with an axe, beaten and forced to remove his trousers.
Mr Fowler went to a nearby shop and bought a SIM card used to contact the victim’s brother to make demands of £100,000 for his release or he would be cut up or drowned.
He was kept in the car boot overnight and was only released at 11:30am the following day when Mr Fowler demanded he get out of the vehicle on Chapel Lane, Hoghton before crashing it into another car. He fled the collision across some nearby fields.
Police enquiries identified Mr Fowler from some CCTV footage which led to his arrest, during which he attempted to escape over a roof.
Further investigation exposed the involvement of Mr Hampson, Mr Helm and Mr Anderson; who was using the name ‘Blazer’ and other aliases to try and avoid his identity becoming known to authorities.
It was revealed that the Lexus used in the kidnap was sold by Christopher Darragh, but he lied to officers about the circumstances of the sale stating that he had sold it to a man whose details he had not kept.
More: Preston man kidnapped after being grabbed from outside his home
Stephen Helm purchased the car from Mr Darragh just before the kidnap, which he admitted during a police interview. He was charged with perverting the course of justice.
DS Dave Brooks from Lancashire’s Serious Crime Team said: “I am pleased with the sentences handed to these men who I can only describe as violent thugs.
“Not only did they kidnap this man and physically attack him, they also made threatening calls to his brother making demands for an extortionate amount of money which he would not have been able to pay. I cannot imagine the fear both him and the victim must have felt.
“I hope this case sends a message to those involved in organised criminality that we will find you and put you before the courts to get justice.”
This follows a five-week trial earlier this month at Sessions House, Preston, during which Luke Anderson, Aaron Hampson and Stephen Helm were found guilty. Jordan Fowler and Christopher Darragh admitted their guilt at a previous hearing.