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 on his behalf went to the Court of Appeal on Friday to challenge his sentence, which 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 principal 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 their parts in 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 that a couple, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, were responsible for Mrs Frankham’s death and had stolen 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.
And police were called to an address in Walpole St Andrew in April 2013 where the family were holding a woman who they believed was involved in the alleged killing, which had not been reported to the authorities before then.
However, medical tests, including a post-mortem examination which was carried out after Mrs Frankham’s body was exhumed from the Wisbech cemetery the following month, showed she had died from natural causes.
The investigation into Mrs Frankham’s death was closed in July 2013 and arrests were made in connection with the kidnappings during a series of dawn police raids the same month.
Dolan was one of five people who admitted their involvement in the attacks. Six others were convicted following a trial.
The other people involved in the attacks, which included Dolan’s son Edward Jnr, received custodial sentences of between 18 months and eight years.