Mobile phone was used to make demands to kidnapped Preston dad's family, court told

Sessions House
Sessions House

Jurors have been told how inquiries into a phone number used to make a £100,000 ransom call to a kidnapped dad’s family led to an arrest.

Stephen Helm, 34, of Stockdale Crescent, Bamber Bridge, Aaron Hampson, 25, of Pump Street, Preston, and Luke Anderson, 24, of Samuel Street, Preston, deny conspiring to kidnap Abid Umar, 36, while co-defendant Jordan Fowler, 21, of no fixed abode, has pleaded guilty.

Police were called on January 25 by a neighbour of the victim, who was punched and bundled into a Lexus, where his hands were tied.

He was made to get into the boot before being taken to a field, where he was told to take off his trousers.

He was held and attacked over 15 hours during which his family received calls demanding £100,000 for his return.

Sessions House court heard police traced where the SIM had been bought. Fowler was recognised from CCTV and arrested, with the phone found in his home.

A probe showed Fowler was in contact with Hampson, and texted Anderson. Hampson and Anderson were in daily contact from January 14 - but Hampson stopped using the phone on January 26.

Prosecuting, Richard English said: “This was a pattern repeated by Luke Anderson who also stopped using phone numbers in the time immediately after the kidnap.”