Page last updated at 17:07 GMT, Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Builders kidnapped mother and toddler in row over bill

Anthony Scaife and Matthew Scaife
The men burst into the family home armed with guns and a knife

A builder and his son who kidnapped a woman and her two-year-old daughter and held them hostage because of a dispute over an unpaid bill have been jailed.

Anthony Scaife and his son Matthew tied up the pair in a workshop in North Yorkshire and told her husband they would be killed unless he paid £20,000.

Mr Scaife, 53, was jailed for 12 years and his son, Matthew, 26, was jailed for 10 years at Bradford Crown Court.

They were jailed after pleading guilty to conspiracy to kidnap last month.

The court was told Anthony Scaife, of Main Street, Long Preston, Settle, had been involved in a long dispute with the woman's husband over masonry work at their Yorkshire Dales home, which had resulted in court action.

He and Matthew Scaife, of Thornton Road, Bradford, burst into the man's home in Skipton in the early hours of 21 May wearing balaclavas, goggles and boiler suits and armed with shotguns, a knife and handgun.

To bind and gag the father, kidnap the wife and two-year-old daughter while making a threatening demand for money, is nothing short of sinister
Det Supt Alan Carey

As their three children slept in the house, the 38-year-old woman and her husband, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had their wrists and ankles bound using cable ties and their eyes were covered with tape.

The husband was told his wife and children would be killed if he did not come up with the £20,000.

The disturbance aroused the attention of the couple's two-year-old daughter, who was then driven with her mother to an isolated workshop near Long Preston and held captive for nearly 24 hours before being released back at their home, unhurt.

The husband contacted police and the Scaifes were arrested after a police raid of their homes.

The court was told during their ordeal the woman and her daughter were made to sit with a quilt over their heads and the woman was made to wear latex gloves to make sure no evidence was left.

The workshop where the victims were held
The victims were held hostage for 24 hours in this workshop

The couple told police the kidnappers used fake Irish accents and called each other Paddy and Murphy.

Judge Alistair McCallum said the husband "thought his family was being attacked by something like IRA terrorists".

Sentencing the pair he said: "(The husband) was trussed up knowing his wife and child were in mortal danger."

He added: "Your whole demeanour and approach in the house must have terrified them."

In a statement, the family said: "Today Anthony and Matthew Scaife begin the long years of imprisonment that their wicked and predatory crimes deserve.

"Nothing can repair the damage that these evil criminals have done to our family. Their greed for money stopped at nothing.

"They targeted and terrorised a family with three young children, then kidnapped a mother and her baby daughter at gunpoint and then threatened to kill them if their demands were not met."

'Truly terrifying'

The woman told BBC Look North her family's life had "changed forever".

She said her children had needed counselling because of their ordeal.

Det Supt Alan Carey, of North Yorkshire Police, said: "This case was truly terrifying for the innocent family who were targeted by Anthony and Matthew Scaife.

"To have masked men burst into your home in the middle of the night is a nightmare scenario in itself.

"But to bind and gag the father, kidnap the wife and two-year-old daughter while making a threatening demand for money, is nothing short of sinister."

Print Sponsor

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08 Dec 09 |  North Yorkshire

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