MP’S EX-AIDE JAILED: Terrifying kidnap of brother-in-law

Jailed: Craig Jackson
Jailed: Craig Jackson
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AN AIDE to local MP John Hayes was jailed yesterday after plotting to kidnap his brother-in-law and dump him 100 miles from home.

AN AIDE to local MP John Hayes was jailed yesterday after plotting to kidnap his brother-in-law and dump him 100 miles from home.

Craig Jackson (40), who worked as agent for the South Holland and Deepings MP and Conservative minister, was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison after admitting conspiracy to kidnap.

Victim Lawrence Marshall was left in such a state of terror that the 50-year-old jumped out of a moving car as he was forcibly driven to Dagenham.

Jackson, of Wharf Street, Sutton Bridge, recruited two friends to carry out the kidnap, and intended to teach Marshall a lesson after learning that his brother-in-law had got into financial difficulty with loan sharks as a result of heavy gambling debts.

David Herbert, prosecuting, told Lincoln Crown Court that Marshall was attacked by Jackson and his friends after visiting Jackson’s sister Angela Skeels (38) at her home in Holbeach Clough to discuss a possible reconciliation.

Mr Herbert said: “He was punched to the face and body so that he fell to the floor. He was then kicked to the body and head. Having been overpowered he was taken outside.”

Marshall was forced into the back of the car and the doors were locked. His three attackers joined him and set off for Dagenham.

During the journey Marshall was threatened with a crowbar but as the vehicle approached Peterborough he managed to wind down the window and jumped out before raising the alarm with a passer-by.

Mr Herbert said: “The fact that he jumped out while the car was still moving plainly demonstrates how frightened he was.

“He was terrified.”

Marshall was taken to a Peterborough hospital, where he was treated for bruising to his face, chest and abdomen before being discharged.

Later when police inquiries began Skeels and her friend Gina Page (47) gave Jackson a false alibi in an attempt to prevent him being implicated in the kidnap.

Jackson’s co-accused Andrew Sayer (40), of Moons Green, Moulton, and Ian Barnes (40), of Cloudesley Road, St Leonards-on-Sea, Sussex, also admitted conspiracy to kidnap Mr Marshall between January 27 and 31.

They were both also jailed for two years and eight months.

Skeels, of Crown Lodge, Holbeach Clough, and Page, of Estuary Close, King’s Lynn, were both jailed for six months after admitting perverting the course of justice.

Judge Michael Heath told Jackson: “This was a nasty, unpleasant offence. It terrified Marshall. It was planned and he was subjected to violence and intimidation.

“I am surprised that you, with your record of service to democracy, should have engaged yourself in these unlawful activities.

“It has to be an immediate custodial sentence.”

Subhankar Banerjee, for Jackson, said the former army clerk was remorseful and has expressed shame at what he did.

He added: “The inevitable prison sentence will mean the destruction of a career that he has diligently built up over the last 15 or so years.

“He was a South Holland district councillor for eight years.

“Until the last two weeks he had spent 14 years working for John Hayes MP and for the last 12 years or so for Stephen O’Brien MP.

“Both are government ministers. The first in the education department and the second in the department of international development.”

Mr Banerjee said Jackson, who was researcher for Mr O’Brien, the Parliamentary Under-secretary of State for International Development, was worried about threats being made by loan sharks to his sister and her family.

He said: “It is absolutely clear that this offence was not committed for any personal gain.

“Marshall had very considerable gambling debts and resorted to loan sharks. When he couldn’t pay the loan sharks he and Angela Skeels were put at risk.”

Edna Leonard, for Sayer, said he had never been in trouble before and became involved out of loyalty to Jackson.

She said: “He was presented with a plan to run Marshall out of town but it is quite clear that things went badly wrong and spiralled out of control. He got himself out of his depth.

“This sort of behaviour is very much out of character for this man.”

Robert Underwood, for Barnes, said he was a former army colleague of Jackson who received a telephone call asking for help in dealing with loan sharks.

He said Barnes admitted his guilt and accepted he faced a jail sentence.

Simon Thomas, for Skeels, said she has since shown remorse and now realises how foolish she had been in lying to police.

“She acted out of misplaced loyalty to her brother. It was a lie that would inevitably be proven to be false.”

Andrew Cogan, for Page, said she was very much a peripheral figure in what happened, having told lies to police in the belief she was helping her friend Skeels.

He said: “She had no involvement with the actual kidnap itself.”