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SEE VIDEO: Family jailed for total of 60 years for kidnap and assault

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Eleven members of a West Norfolk family have been jailed for a total of 60 years for kidnapping and assaulting a man and his heavily pregnant partner, with a police chief slamming “vigilantism”.

The five men and six women, aged between 17 and 57, kidnapped the victims – a man and woman who cannot be named for legal reasons – and assaulted them in a bid to extract a confession about the murder of Gertrude Frankham.

The family believed they played a part in the death of 75-year-old Gertrude Frankham, who died in her Walpole St Andrew home in December 2012. It was never proven that Mrs Frankham was murdered, despite two post mortems.

Judge Stephen Holt, commended the officers in the investigation saying: “the preparation of the case was of the highest level” and those who attended showed “diplomacy and great tact in diffusing a difficult situation.”

Judge Holt, talking about the defendants, said: “It’s clear the whole operation was pre-planned” and the victims were: “subject to a prolonged attack.” He added that it was apparent that “the family thought they were above the law and could impose their own.”

Speaking after the hearing, King’s Lynn and West Norfolk policing commander Superintendent Dennis Lacey said: “The assaults were carried out over a period of hours while others looked on. Camcorder footage seized by police of one of these attacks is truly horrific and it is hard to believe the victims will ever fully recover from their ordeal.

“The events placed a significant demand on police resources, leading to parallel enquiries into the murder allegation and the incidents of kidnap and assault.

“Vigilantism cannot be tolerated and the sentences handed down reflect the unnecessary level of violence used, despite the most serious allegation of murder being unfounded.”

The following defendants were sentenced for their part in the attacks. They previously pleaded guilty or were found guilty at earlier hearings. All sentences will run concurrently and will take into account time already served.

Violet Chilton (57), of Rands Terrace, Dades Lane, St John’s Fen End, was found guilty of false imprisonment and assault occasioning grievous bodily harm and sentenced to six years in prison.

Thomas Chilton (29), also of Rands Terrace, was found guilty of two counts of kidnap and two counts of false imprisonment and sentenced to six years in prison.

Edward Dolan Jnr (18), of New Road, Sutton Bridge, was found guilty of kidnap and false imprisonment and sentenced to 18 months in a youth offenders institute.

Vanessa Frankham (48), of Wisbech Road, Walpole St Andrew, was found guilty of kidnap, blackmail and assault occasioning grievous bodily harm. She had previously admitted false imprisonment. She was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Diane Evans (18), of Cherry Road, Wisbech, was found guilty of kidnap and false imprisonment and sentenced to 18 months in a youth offenders institute.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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