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Gang who snatched woman off street and demanded £2,000 not to cut her throat jailed for 29 years

John Kyle, Christopher Brown and Kenneth Cook

Three blackmailers who snatched a woman off the street and demanded £2,000 from her boyfriend not to cut her throat because of a "slight insult at a shop" have been jailed for a total of 29 years.

The terrified victim was held captive for more than three hours after being kidnapped by strangers who threatened to attack her, throw her in the River Tyne and sent a gruesome image to her partner.

A court heard the woman suffered a broken breastbone before she was finally dumped from the car in Hebburn , five miles from where she was taken in South Shields - all over a "slight perceived insult" to one of the defendants.

Now Kenneth Cook, John Kyle and Christopher Brown have been handed prison sentences for offences including kidnap, blackmail and GBH with intent.

Judge Amanda Rippon told the men their offending "arose out of literally nothing" when "two strangers [the victim and her boyfriend] dared to complain about [Kyle's] apparent rudeness".

She said to Kyle: "Your reaction was extraordinary. You chose to recount what he said to your associates, before chasing a man down the street to assault him, armed with a knife."

Jurors previously heard the couple's ordeal started when they went to the One Stop shop in Whiteleas Way, South Shields, last June and one of the men "slammed" the door as he left the store and then got into a car.

As the couple walked towards their home, a black Vauxhall Vectra repeatedly drove past them before they were confronted by the group and the boyfriend was threatened with a knife.

Prosecutor Richard Herrmann said the man gave his girlfriend their shopping bags and told her to get to safety before he was chased by the men and managed to get away.

Judge Rippon said to Kyle: "He managed to disarm and cut you. You were so humiliated you chose to chase his partner."

As the woman made her way home alone, she encountered the vehicle again and was ordered to "get in the f****** car" before being forced into the back seat.

Mr Herrmann said "unfortunately, this was only the beginning of the ordeal for her" and said she was ordered to make a call to her boyfriend on her mobile.

The court heard once the call connected, one of the men took the woman's phone from her and demanded £2,000 from the boyfriend and said they would "cut her throat then throw her in the Tyne and send a photo of it to him".

The woman was then driven to the banks of the river, where she was ordered to get out, grabbed by the pony tail and attacked by Cook, who kicked her in the chest.

The victim, who "didn't have a clue where she was" was then taken to a house, where the men demanded to know how they could track down her boyfriend and get the ransom money from him.

The court heard when the men failed to get the ransom they asked for, the woman was dumped in Hebburn and the police managed to locate her, near Elmfield Road.

The victim said in an impact statement, which was read in court at the sentencing hearing: "Since this incident I'm absolutely terrified. I can't eat or sleep unless I've taken medication for the pain. I'm terrified to stay in the house alone but scared to leave."

The boyfriend's victim personal statement said: "I feel guilty I couldn't stop the males doing what they did.

When I heard she was in the boot of the car I thought she was going to be killed.

"I'm a nervous wreck. I still can't believe that this happened."

Cook, 26, of Bensham Bank, Gateshead , pleaded guilty to blackmail and was found guilty by a jury of kidnap and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. He was jailed for 15 years with a four year extended licence period.

Kyle, 30, of Ribble Walk, Jarrow, was found guilty at the same trial of kidnap and blackmail. He was jailed for ten years with a four year extended licence period.

He refused to answer police questioning and claimed in a defence statement he was not present during the offences but did not give evidence during the trial.

Christopher Brown, 42, of Grosvenor Crescent, Hebburn, was found guilty of blackmail and was jailed for four years.

Via chroniclelive

My view: They Should have been given 29 years each, Kidnapping, blackmail and they pretty much tortured the girl.

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