Detective says South Tyneside kidnap case is 'one of the worst I've ever had to investigate'

A detective says a case in which blackmailers snatched a woman from a South Tyneside Street and demanded a £2,000 ransom is one of the worst she has ever seen.

(from left) Christopher Brown, John Kyle and Kenneth Cook
(from left) Christopher Brown, John Kyle and Kenneth Cook

Detective Constable Julie Jackson was speaking after Kenneth Cook, John Kyle and Christopher Brown – who were convicted following a trial at Newcastle Crown Court in May – were jailed for a total of 29 years.

The woman was subjected to the terrifying ordeal in June last year as she walked with her partner in South Shields.

The victim – who suffered a broken breastbone – was dumped from the car in Hebburn five miles from where she was taken.

“I’ve been with Northumbria Police for almost 30 years and this was one of the worst crimes I’ve ever had to investigate,” said DC Jackson

“I hope the defendants’ respective sentences can offer some kind of comfort to the victim and her family, and sends a strong message out to the community – this type of disgraceful behaviour will not be tolerated.”

In a statement read to the court, the woman said: “Since this incident, I am absolutely terrified. I can’t eat and can’t sleep unless I’ve taken my medication.

“I cry all of the time. Don’t understand why they did this to me – I’ve never hurt anyone.”

Her partner added: “I feel guilty I couldn’t stop the males doing what they did. I was totally helpless.

“When I was talking to them on the phone and heard she was in the boot, I thought she was going to be killed.

Cook, 26, of Bensham Bank, Gateshead, pleaded guilty to blackmail and was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and kidnap. He was jailed for 15 years with a four-year extended licence period.

Kyle, 30, of Ribble Walk, Jarrow, denied kidnap and blackmail but was found guilty. He was jailed for 10 years with a four-year extended licence period.

Brown, 42, of Grosvenor Crescent, Hebburn, was found guilty of blackmail and jailed for four years.