Melton man’s kidnappers demanded £10,000 ransom

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Four masked kidnappers broke into a Melton man’s home and beat him up before bundling him into a van and holding him hostage overnight, a court heard.

The victim’s shocked brother was given an initial ransom demand of £10,000 and a kilo of cannabis.

He alerted the police who paid out £4,500 for the safe release of Daniel Tillson – who feared he was going to be killed during the ordeal.

Leicester Crown Court was told the abductors threatened to bury him in a grave in remote woodland, as well as saying they would chop off his fingers and tie him to bricks to drown him.

Four men have pleaded guilty to kidnapping Mr Tillson on May 19 and 20 last year and are awaiting sentencing.

Two women, Keisha Makanjuola (28) and Alisha Campbell (31), are on trial accused of the same kidnap offence, which they deny.

Makanjuola, of Manvers Street, Netherfield, Nottingham, admits falsely imprisoning Mr Tillson, which is denied by Campbell, of Sneinton Boulevard, Nottingham.

Both women were arrested in a car with two of the male kidnappers within half an hour of the ransom being paid.

Makanjuola had £1,000 of the ransom money in her handbag and a further £50 in her pocket – as police had noted the serial numbers. Her fingerprints were on the ransom bag, it was claimed.

A further £1,860 was recovered in the vehicle.

It was claimed that Campbell’s former home in Manvers Street – next door to where her co-accused now lives – was where the victim was detained overnight.

Luke Blackburn, prosecuting, said the male kidnappers targeted Mr Tillson, believing him to have a stash of money and drugs at his home in Melton. But all they found were 16 immature cannabis plants and no cash.

Mr Tillson, in a statement read out, said the four men burst into his home at about 10pm when he was watching television. One of them struck him with an iron bar and he curled into a ball to protect himself.

He said: “They seemed very angry and kept searching the property. After 15 minutes one said ‘**** it, we’re taking him’ and I immediately realised they were going to kidnap me.”

As he was driven off in the back of a Citroen Berlingo van they began calling his brother, making demands.

The victim was made to cover his face with a hat and taken to a house, via a trip to some remote woodland, and detained in a box room.

The jury heard more than 30 phone calls – tape recorded by the police – between the victim’s brother and the male kidnappers, negotiating the ransom.

The victim, in his statement, said: “Those few hours were very scary and I really thought I was going to get hurt again. I didn’t think I was going to get out of the situation alive.”

The police, meanwhile, raised £4,500, noting down the serial numbers, and a plain clothes detective delivered the cash in a carrier bag to a salt bin at Nottingham’s Lady Bay Retail Park at about 3pm the next day.

The jury were shown CCTV footage of two male kidnappers, at 3.10pm, collecting the cash in a Citroen DS3 car – which Campbell had earlier borrowed from her aunt – before the victim was released from the Berlingo van nearby.

He had suffered a black eye and bruising.

The four men, all from Nottingham, who have pleaded guilty to the kidnap are Kenneth Wallace (23), of Manvers Street, Levi Wildridge (31), of Wadhurst Gardens, Damien Hyland (30), of Godfrey Street and Daniel South (31), of Walmer Road.