Man tried to sell items stolen from dead woman’s home

Gertrude Frankham, who died in December 2012.
Gertrude Frankham, who died in December 2012.
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A man who was allegedly kidnapped and assaulted for his suspected role in the death of an elderly woman attempted to sell goods stolen from her home.

Jurors at Norwich Crown Court have also been told that the man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had taken property which 
belonged to Gertrude Frankham after her death and without the consent of her family.

Seven people are currently on trial accused of being involved in abducting, attacking and blackmailing the man and his partner, who they suspected of killing and stealing from Mrs Frankham.

During cross-examination by defence barrister Greg Perrins, the alleged victim admitted that he had taken property from Mrs Frankham’s garden and a skip placed outside her former home in Walpole St Andrew.

The court heard the items were taken over several weeks in January and February last year. Mrs Frankham (75) died in December 2012.

He said he was not proud of his actions, but insisted that he had not had an opportunity to seek permission from Mrs Frankham’s family before taking the items. He also claimed he thought the items would be disposed of anyway, adding: “As far as I was concerned, it was rubbish.”

But Mr Perrins suggested he had told police that one of the reasons he had not discussed taking the items with any of Mrs Frankham’s relatives was that he was concerned things would “kick off” if he did.

During evidence heard on Friday, it was also revealed that the man had been arrested for, and later admitted to, handling goods which had been stolen from Mrs Frankham’s home.

The jury was told that the man had been visited at his home by a group of three other men who asked him to sell various property on their behalf.

Many of the items were taken to an antiques shop, where the man had given a false account of how he came to be in possession of them.

But he told the jury he had not known the items belonged to Mrs Frankham and only “put two and two together” when he was told that her home had been burgled.

The seven standing trial, who deny all of the charges against them, include Vanessa Frankham (48), of Wisbech Road, Walpole St Andrew, who is accused of kidnap, blackmail, false imprisonment and robbery.

Violet Chilton (57), of Dades Lane, Wisbech, is charged with blackmail, false imprisonment and wounding with intent.

Edward Dolan (18), of Flower Farm Bungalow, Walpole, is charged with kidnap, false imprisonment and wounding with intent.

The same allegations have been brought against Thomas Chilton (29) and Jason Chilton (27), of Dades Lane, Wisbech.

Meanwhile, Diane Evans (18), of Cherry Road, Wisbech, is charged with false imprisonment, while a 17-year-old youth, who cannot be named, is charged with kidnap, false imprisonment and wounding with intent.

Five other defendants have already admitted their involvement in the incident. The trial continues.