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Total of 60 years’ jail for gypsy family members who abducted and attacked man and pregnant partner

Breaking News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter

Breaking News from the Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, spaldingtoday.co.uk, @LincsFreePress on Twitter

Eleven members of a gypsy family who abducted and viciously attacked a man and his heavily pregnant partner were jailed today (Thursday) for a total of 60 years.

The gang, who span three generations, were convinced family member Gertrude Frankham (75) had been killed and hatched a plan to get confessions out of her supposed murderers.

They abducted their two victims, who cannot be named for legal reasons, and held them separately while subjecting them to sustained beatings. The female victim was terrified she was going to lose her unborn baby.

A police investigation proved the family’s suspicions were unfounded and Mrs Frankham had died of natural causes.

The five men and six women – including two from Sutton Bridge – were sentenced at Norwich Crown Court. Judge Stephen Holt said: “The family thought they were above the law and could impose their own. It’s clear the whole operation was pre-planned.”

Police received a series of calls on the afternoon of April 20 last year to reports of a woman being held by the family. The court was told police officers rescued both victims after diffusing a “difficult situation” and when told of the family’s allegations, launched their own probe.

Mrs Frankham’s body was exhumed and a Home Office and independent post mortem showed that she had died from natural causes.

The cruel captors were arrested at various addresses in a series of dawn raids in July 2013.

Violet Chilton (57), of Wisbech, was found guilty of false imprisonment and assault occasioning grievous bodily harm and sentenced to a total of six years in custody.

Thomas Chilton (29), of Wisbech, was found guilty of two counts of kidnap and two counts of false imprisonment and sentenced to a total of six years in custody.

Edward Dolan Jnr (18), of Sutton Bridge, was found guilty of kidnap and false imprisonment and sentenced to 18 months in youth custody.

Vanessa Frankham (49), of Walpole St Andrew, was found guilty of kidnap, blackmail and assault occasioning grievous bodily harm.She had previously admitted false imprisonment and was sentenced to a total of seven years in custody.

Diane Evans (18), of Wisbech, was found guilty of false imprisonment and sentenced to a total of 18 months’ youth custody.

Jesse Frankham (17), of Walpole St Andrew, was found guilty of kidnap and false imprisonment and sentenced to a total of 18 months detention and a training order.

Several members of the group had previously pleaded guilty and therefore did not stand trial.

Laura Ann Dolan (37), of Sutton Bridge pleaded guilty to kidnap, two counts of false imprisonment and two counts of unlawful wounding. She was sentenced to a total of eight years in custody.

Wayne Dolan (35), of Walpole St Andrew, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and unlawful wounding. He was sentenced to a total of five years in custody.

Edward Dolan Snr (38), of Walpole St Andrew, pleaded guilty to kidnap, false imprisonment and wounding with intent. He was sentenced to a total of 12 years in custody.

Sheila Conboy (55), of Walpole St Andrew, pleaded guilty to two counts of false imprisonment and two counts of unlawful wounding. She was sentenced to a total of eight years in custody.

Valerie Harris (47), of Thistlebrook, London, pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and unlawful wounding. She was sentenced to a total of three and half years in custody.

 

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