Members of masked gang who kidnapped man fled to Thailand and ate their SIM cards – now they’ve been jailed
Masked Gang: Four men have been sent down for their part in the terrifying incident
A man was kidnapped from a cafe, bundled into a stolen car by masked thugs armed with a machete and hammer in broad daylight in a planned ‘gangland’ attack.
Scott Jeffries, 32, David Boyd, 34, Ashley Hodson, 34, and Bradley Ward, 22, have been jailed for their part in the incident.
Boyd and Hodson fled to Thailand, where they tried to eat their SIM cards in a desperate bid to destroy evidence. They were caught before being hauled before a judge.
Manchester Crown Court heard that the motive for the attack remains a mystery, as the victim refused to cooperate with the police.
Prosecuting, Louise Brandon said that on October 6, 2016, the four men were ‘keeping a very close eye’ on their male victim.
They had planted a tracker on his BMW and followed him from a retail park in Cheetham Hill to a cafe in Miles Platting.
At around 12pm as he was tucking into his lunch with a friend, three men burst in.
They were all wearing dark clothing, had balaclavas on and were armed with a machete and a hammer.
The court heard they bundled the pair into a stolen Seat Leon, which had false number plates.
Another man drove the victim’s BMW away from the scene.
The victim’s friend was dropped off in Prestwich at about 3.30pm, and the other man was taken to a nearby property where two hammers were later recovered.
He was able to escape.
Weeks later, Boyd was arrested in his car, where police officers found a ‘baby’s bottle’ containing sulphuric acid.
Boyd later spent 51 days in a Thai jail before being extradited back to the UK.
Hodson, who was in the country with Boyd, had his Visa cancelled because of his association with his co-defendant.
Ward was arrested later. Police were able to piece together phone data to track the four men’s movements during the incident.
As the four men’s barristers delivered mitigation, Judge Jonathan Foster QC asked Boyd’s barrister Katherine Pierpoint: “What was all this about?”
Ms Pierpoint said she couldn’t add anything and told the judge that Boyd, a father-of-three, had pleaded guilty to offences.
The judge added: “It looks to me like a gangland incident. In the absence of any help from anyone else that is an inference I will be entitled to draw.”
Sentencing, Judge Foster said: “The incident must have been terrifying to those who observed it.
“It must have been quite terrifying for them, whatever you thought they deserved.
“They were bundled out of a cafe by three men wearing dark clothing and balaclavas, armed with weapons, not knowing what might happen to them.
“Those in the restaurant and anyone around would have been quite terrified.
“It cannot be said that this was some random happening. It was serious, it was organised.”
Speaking about the acid found in Boyd’s car, the judge added: “It is a deadly weapon, and it is difficult to imagine anything but an extremely nefarious purpose for it to be in your possession.”
David Boyd, of Layton Street, Miles Platting, was jailed for four years and three weeks.
He pleaded guilty to possession of offensive weapons, namely sulphuric acid a machete and a hammer, and another count of affray.
Ashley Hodson, of Harold Priestnall Close, Newton Heath was sentenced to two years, eight months and three weeks in prison.
Bradley Ward, of no fixed address, was sentenced to two years and four months in prison.
Hodson and Ward both pleaded guilty to affray and possession of offensive weapons (machete and hammer).
Jeffries, of Sinderland Road, Altrincham was jailed for two years and four months after pleading guilty to affray.