A man who was part of a kidnapping plot which, a court heard, led to a drug dealer being gagged, bound, beaten and threatened with his life, has been sent to prison for five and a half years.
But two other men – Scott Benjamin and Andre White – have been found not guilty of conspiracy to kidnap in connection with the case. Andrew Langham met up with Randhir ‘Ricky’ Jutla in Sweetman Street, Whitmore Reans, shortly before midnight on May 22 to give him a sample of cocaine to sell, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.
The victim was attacked by masked men after getting into a white Hyundai which 29-year-old Langham was driving, said Mr Jonathan Dunne, prosecuting. Mr Jutla lost consciousness while being bundled into the back of the car by the masked men who had been lying in wait, the court was told.
Mr Dunne said: “His hands, legs and ankles were taped up and tape was put over his mouth and eyes.” Mr Jutla was then taken into the countryside where he was led out of the car, thrown into a ditch and had a liquid he believed to be petrol thrown over him before being told he would be set alight, it was claimed. Mr Dunne said: “He thought he was going to die and pleaded for his life offering £40,000 to be let go.”
He was allowed to phone his mother to arrange for the money to be raised and managed to use a ‘code’ during the conversation that tipped her off to call the police.
Officers monitoring the location of calls made from a phone in the car managed to trace it to Foxes Lane, Brewood, where it was stopped 16 hours after the kidnap.
Mr Jutla was trussed up in the back of the vehicle in which Langham, of Beacon Road, Willenhall, was also travelling. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap. Mr Andrew Baker, mitigating, said Langham was not the prime mover in the kidnapping.
“He was partly deceived by other people who informed him it was a debt collection rather than a kidnap,” he said. Benjamin, aged 26, from Watford, and White, 26, of Riverbank Mews, Stafford, were found not guilty of conspiracy to kidnap.
The jury, which took two hours and 35 minutes to deliver their verdict, also found White not guilty of unlawful imprisonment.