The faces of three blackmailers who kidnapped woman from a South Shields street

These are the faces of three men convicted of blackmail after demanding a four-figure sum for a terrified woman’s safe return.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 12 June, 2019, 12:22
Newcastle Crown Court, where the men appeared.

The victim was snatched from a street in South Shields as she walked with her partner, and subjected to a four-hour ordeal by men she did not know.

Her captors threatened to cut her throat and send a gruesome image to her boyfriend unless he paid the £2,000 they asked for.

From left, Christopher Brown, Kenneth Cook and John Kyle appeared at Newcastle Crown Court.

She was later dumped in Hebburn, five miles from where she was taken, and left with a broken breastbone.

Detective Constable Julie Jackson, of Northumbria Police, has praised the victim for her bravery throughout the investigation – and added that she hopes the men’s convictions provide “some kind of closure”.

Det Con added: “This was a horrific and despicable crime. It’s hard to comprehend the terror that the victim was subjected to on that night.

“I’ve been with the force for almost three decades and this is one of the worst crimes I’ve ever had to investigate.”

The court heard that the couple visited the One Stop shop on Whiteleas Way, South Shields, on the evening of June 11, 2018.

As the victim and her boyfriend later walked towards their home, a black Vauxhall repeatedly drove past the pair and they were confronted by the group.

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The man, who gave his girlfriend the shopping bags and urged her to get to safety, was then chased by the gang, but managed to get away.

She was then ordered to make several calls to her partner.

When the men failed to receive the money, they dumped the victim in Hebburn before police managed to locate her.

In a statement read to the court, the victim said: “I’m terrified to stay in my house alone and I’m also terrified to leave.

“I cry all of the time.”

Brown, 42, of Grosvenor Crescent, Hebburn, was found guilty of blackmail. He has been granted bail until the next hearing.

Cook, 26, of Bensham Bank, Gateshead, pleaded guilty to blackmail and was found guilty by a jury of kidnap and causing grievous bodily harm with intent. He has been remanded in custody until sentence, which will happen at a later date.

Kyle, 30, of Ribble Walk, Jarrow, was found guilty at the same trial of kidnap and blackmail. He is also remanded in custody.