Five jailed after posing as police officers to kidnap, torture and blackmail man

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Five men have been jailed over an elaborate extortion plot in which they posed as police officers to kidnap their victim before torturing him and demanding ransom money from his family. 

The offenders placed a tracking device on the car of the victim, a man in his 30s who they reportedly believed to be a “major drug dealer”, so they could monitor his movements remotely in the weeks before the attack.

On 11 April last year, the victim was approached by three members of the gang dressed as police officers who told him they were arresting him and forced him into the back of a car with false number plates.

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The kidnappers took the man to a back street in Gorton, east Manchester, where they dragged him from the vehicle, placed a hood over his head and put him in a van.

Having driven him to a nearby building, the five attackers – Daniel Lowe, 27, John Bishop, 31, Nicky Barnes, 27, Michael Etuhu, 35, and Ben Ukaegbu, 38 – held the man for around 13 hours.

They tortured the victim with a Taser and a blowtorch, while using an imitation firearm to scare him into cooperating with their demands. They then contacted various members of his family, demanding a ransom – reported by the Manchester Evening News to be £500,000 in cash and drugs – be delivered to an address in Birmingham in exchange for his safe release.

The victim’s family informed police, who tracked down the location and deployed armed officers to break in and rescue the victim, who had been handcuffed to a chair.

Bishop and Ukaegbu, who had been guarding the man, were arrested at the scene, while Etuhu, Barnes and Lower were found and apprehended by officers the following month.

The five men were each jailed for between seven and 12 years at Manchester Crown Court after pleading guilty to conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to blackmail.

Detective Inspector Gareth Davies, of GMP’s Major Incident Team, said: “This was a terrifying attack on a man who was held against his will and senselessly tortured. This crime was carefully thought out and planned by this despicable group of offenders and their behaviour was ruthless and inhumane.​”

Barnes, of Greenwood Road, Northampton, was jailed for 12 years.

Lowe, of Byfield Road, Northampton was jailed for 10 years six months.

Etuhu, of Leftbank, Manchester was jailed for 10 years and two months.

Ukaegbu, of Windy Ridge, Northampton, was jailed for 11 years and three months.

Bishop, of Stanley Road, Northampton was jailed for 7 years.

The independent

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