Two men jailed after kidnapping 'terrified' Rhyl drug addict over debt


Staff reporter (Rhyl Journal)

TWO heavies kidnapped a Rhyl drug addict over an alleged £14,000 debt.

The 23-year-old victim was blackmailed and his mother was told to re-mortgage her home to pay the debt off.

She was told her son could not return home until the debt was paid.

A judge said that such criminal behaviour simply would not be tolerated.

Nicholas Andrew James, 24, of River Street, Rhyl, received a 11 year prison sentence after he admitted false imprisonment, blackmail and possessing cocaine with intent to supply.

Co-defendant Anthony Martin, 28, of Grosvenor Road in Prestatyn, who admitted false imprisonment, received six years.

Mold Crown Court heard how the victim was terrified.

The ordeal would remain with him for the rest of his life, and that he had since left town but continued to “look over his shoulder.”

Judge Philip Hughes told the defendants: “Violent, abusive and threatening behaviour like this will not be tolerated.

“It must be punished severely.”

He said that it was all too easy for “unscrupulous and greedy criminals” to take advantage of vulnerable people addicted to drugs.

They exploited them, supplied them with drugs and then terrorised them for payment of debts.

The judge said that the victim would live with the memories of what had happened to him for the rest of his life.

“This was for him a terrifying ordeal,” he said.

Prosecuting barrister Karl Scholz told how in July of last year the victim saw a taxi pull up outside his home and three men, including the two defendants, got out.

He had previously had a £2,000 drugs debt, he had been persuaded to sell cocaine on behalf of his supplier, but that did not go well amid allegations that he was consuming some of the drugs he should have sold on.

He was told that the debt had increased to £7,000 and that day he was blamed for a burglary at another man’s home.

Although he denied that he had anything to do with it, he was told that the debt was now £14,000 because the property lost in the burglary would be added to his debt.

He was told to get into the taxi and he was taken to the home of a third man in Prestatyn where he was assaulted by James who punched him five or six times and held him by the throat.

He was filmed on a mobile phone as he was made to swear on his grandfather’s life that he would now pay £14,000.

After some two hours the victim’s mother was contacted and she was told that she should re-mortgage her home to get the money, and that her son would live with them until the money was paid.

She was warned not to contact the police and was told that her other son was a nice lad and that she would not want him hurt.

The victim was kept in a house overnight, sleeping on a mattress in the lounge.

He was told that if they were arrested then he would be killed and that he would “go missing”.

The victim was taken to another house where he had a shower, and he was then told to take a taxi to a caravan park and deliver £4,000 to a man there.

But he asked the driver to go to another address, he got away and police took him to a place of safety.

The two defendants and another man were arrested.

The victim had since moved from the area completely but felt he could never relax.

Simon Mills, for Martin, stressed his client was not involved in the drugs background or the blackmail.

He wanted to put the matter behind him and return to normal family life.

Peter Moss, for James, said no weapons had been used.

While it was “terribly bad behaviour” the victim had been allowed to sleep, had been given food and allowed a shower.

James wanted to train as a physical fitness instructor while in custody.

A third man Ryan Cullen, 20, of West Derby Road in Liverpool, has denied involvement and he is due to go on trial in October.

But the judge agreed to sentence Martin and James because Cullen’s trial had been delayed and it would by then be 12 months since they had entered their guilty pleas.

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