Blindfolded victim threatened with hacksaw and chisel in torture robbery plot

The former boss of a multi-million pound business threatened to torture a vulnerable man in a plot to rob him of part of a £300,000 compensation payout, a judge heard.

Blindfolded victim threatened with hacksaw and chisel in torture robbery plot

Father of four Ian Cooper - once the MD of the Cooper Group, a successful municipal vehicle hire company - blindfolded and bound the victim hands and feet before threatening to torture the terrified 58-year-old with a hacksaw and chisel if he did not reveal where the money was hidden, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.

The life of 40-year-old Cooper had spiralled out of control during a four year drug binge that ended with him desperate for cash and injecting himself daily with crack, it was said.

Philip Haynes was held prisoner in his own home while repeatedly insisting there was no secret stash of money as Cooper and his accomplice - serial criminal Darren Clayton, aged 44 - fruitlessly scoured the address, explained Mr Simon Rippon, prosecuting.

When that failed Clayton went through the pockets of the man and found the victim's Barclaycard which was then used by Clayton, Cooper and their friend Joanna Ward, aged 34, to buy thousands of pounds worth of goods.

The trio all knew and deliberately targeted Philip Haynes, who lived alone in Bilston after collecting his huge compensation award following an industrial accident.

"This led to Mr Haynes being befriended by a number of people intending to take advantage of his vulnerability," revealed Mr Rippon.

The victim loaned money to several people and had just had £106,000 cash reportedly stolen days earlier. He is now said to be penniless.

Cooper conned his way with Clayton into the property shortly before midnight on July 2 by claiming the pair were trying to find the missing money but once inside taped the legs of Mr Haynes to a kitchen chair, bound his hands behind his back and blindfolded him after implying a hacksaw, hammer, sheers and a chisel could be used to torture him, continued the prosecutor.

Clayton was in a different room when this happened but stole the Barclaycard and got frightened Haynes to drive him to nearby shops where it was used to buy hundreds of pounds worth of goods.

On his return he gave the card to Cooper and Ward who used it to buy a £3,500 multi currency money card at a Birmingham travel agency.

The trio were arrested when a police officer investigate the earlier cash theft by chance arrived at the address shortly after they left. Ward was freed on bail on July 4 and immediately withdrew £2,500 of the money on the currency card and squandered it on luxuries like spa back massages.

Cooper had been the successful MD of a company with 25 employees and an annual turn over of up to £4m-a-year until starting to take cocaine in June 2011, said Mr Ekwall Tiwana, defending who concluded: "He had been injecting himself with crack cocaine every day for a fortnight before this incident. He had started mixing with drug addicts and criminals and got drawn into that world."

Cooper from Gandy Road, Wednesfield pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, attempted robbery and fraud and was sent to prison for a total of six years four months while heroin addict Clayton of Stratton Street, Park Village admitted robbery and fraud and was jailed for five years four months. Mother of one Ward from Warstones Gardens, Park Village pleaded guilty to fraud and was locked up for ten months.

The victim confessed in a statement: "I thought I was a goner and wish I had died after what has happened to me since. It has totally ruined my life. The money has gone and I am in a financial mess. I am diabetic, disabled, have no money to live on and cannot sleep at night. I have gone from having money and no debts to the complete opposite."

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