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Last Updated: Monday, 21 January 2008, 16:42 GMT
Couple kidnapped on eve of trial
Mold Law Courts
Mold Crown Court heard how the couple escaped after three days
Two men have been jailed for helping kidnap a couple to stop them giving evidence in a trial.

Kerry Elson and Christopher Catherall were taken from their home in Queensferry, Flintshire, to Liverpool, where they were held for three days.

They were driven there by Thomas Kerwin, 22, and Joseph McLoughlin, 25, both from Liverpool, who admitted perverting the course of justice.

Mold Crown Court saw Kerwin jailed for two years and McLoughlin for 16 months.

The court heard how victims Mr Catherall and Ms Elson had been due to give evidence against two criminals who had threatened and intimidated them over a drugs debt.

Knife

Heath Grimes, 33, and Peter Tierney, 25 - both from Liverpool - had previously increased a 20 drugs debt owed by the couple to 100 and later went round to their home where they threatened Ms Elson with a knife.

Aggravated burglary charges arose from the break-in, but Tierney wanted to stop the couple giving evidence against them.

From prison, where he was being held before the trial, he recruited several people, including Kerwin and McLoughlin, to stop the couple appearing in court.

The court heard Tierney had organised the kidnapping in August 2007 and had been making threats to the couple from his prison cell on a hidden mobile phone.

Police officers had been due to accommodate the couple in a hotel the night before Tierney and Grimes's trial.

But Kerwin and McLoughlin arrived at the house before police and told the couple they were being put up in a hotel in Chester.

'Gofers'

Instead, they drove them to Liverpool, where they were held in a house for three days.

Kerwin and McLoughlin were described in court as naive "gofers".

But Judge Roger Dutton said: "While the two of you are not the ring leaders, it is quite plain that you both played your parts."

He told them justice was being "interfered with" and the court heard Tierney had not been prosecuted for the witnesses' kidnapping.

The court heard how the witnesses escaped when a police car coincidentally stopped outside the property they were in, panicking Kerwin, McLoughlin and others.

When it became apparent the witnesses had escaped and reported the incident to police, Tierney and Grimes changed their pleas to guilty.

Grimes received an indefinite sentence for public protection, while Tierney was jailed for six and a half years.



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