Appeal rejected for Walpole St Andrew man

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A man who plotted to kidnap and torture a couple he believed killed his mother has had his jail term extended after judges rejected what they called his “hopeless” appeal.

Edward John Dolan, 39, of Walpole Marsh, Walpole St Andrew, was jailed for 12 years last year after admitting two counts of false imprisonment, kidnap and wounding with intent.

Lawyers acting for him went to the Court of Appeal on Friday to challenge the sentence they claimed was too long.

But judges dismissed the plea and, in an unusual move, ordered that Dolan should serve an extra six weeks behind bars instead.

Delivering their judgement, Lord Justice McCombe said of Dolan’s offending: “This was vigilantism of the worst sort. It was bound to attract a long sentence and this was a hopeless appeal.”

Judge Peter Collier QC, who sat alongside Lord Justice McCombe and Mr Justice Nicol in hearing the case, added that Dolan had “taken the lead” in the attacks.

He said : “He was the principle offender and therefore accountable for what took place. There was no unfair disparity.”

Dolan was one of 11 people who, between them, received prison sentences totalling 60 years at Norwich Crown Court in April 2014 for the plot.

All of them are related through blood or marriage to Gertrude Frankham, the wife of leading travellers’ rights campaigner Eli Frankham, who died at her home in Walpole St Andrew in December 2012, aged 75.

Members of her family believed a couple, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, were responsible for Mrs Frankham’s death and stole possessions from her home.

They were separately kidnapped and beaten in order to extract false confessions from them. The woman, who was heavily pregnant at the time was filmed during her ordeal.

Medical tests, including a post-mortem carried out after Mrs Frankham’s body was exhumed from the Wisbech cemetery in May 2013, showed she died from natural causes.