Four men who conspired to kidnap a Preston dad-of-five and blackmail his family for his return have been jailed by a judge.
Luke Anderson, 25, of Samuel Street, Preston, Stephen Helm, 35, of no fixed address, and Aaron Hampson, 27, of Mansfield Crescent, Nelson, were all caged for 12 years by Judge Simon Newell at Sessions House court after jurors found them guilty.
Jordan Fowler, 21, of Marlborough Drive, Walton-le-Dale was jailed for eight years and four months after admitting the same charges.
Christopher Darragh, 50, of Princess Street, Preston was given 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.
Victim Abid Umar, 36, was subjected to a 15 hour ordeal which began on Wednesday, January 25 when he was approached outside his home in Frenchwood, beaten, tied up, and bundled into the boot of a silver Lexus car.
He was taken to a field off Shutting Fields Lane, Bamber Bridge, where he was threatened with an axe, beaten and forced to remove his trousers.
Fowler went to a nearby shop and bought a SIM card used to contact the victim’s brother threatening he would be cut up or drowned.unless the family stumped up £100,000 for his release.
Mr Umar was kept in the car boot overnight and was only released at 11:30am the following day on Chapel Lane, Hoghton.
Moments kater Fowler crashed into another car and fled the collision across fields.
It was revealed that the Lexus used in the kidnap was sold to Helm by Christopher Darragh, but he lied to officers, stating that he had sold it to a man whose details he hadn’t kept.
Today, 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.”
Brett Gerrity for the CPS added: “This gang carried out a premeditated and brutal attack upon a man in an attempt to extort a significant amount of money from him and his family.
“We worked closely with Lancashire police to build a strong case against them leading to two of the men pleading guilty and the other three being found guilty by a jury. This included piecing together telephone evidence which linked all four men to the both the planning of the kidnap and to the site where Mr Umar had been detained in the boot of the car overnight.”