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Trio are sent to prison for false imprisonment

Three people who held a man against his will in Congleton have been jailed for more than five years.

The victim, Joshua Beardmore, was duped into going to the flat of one of the defendants, concerned about his welfare, after receiving a text message from Scott Stokes stating: “You don’t need to break my legs, I’m cutting my throat”.

When the 28-year-old victim arrived at the third floor flat on West Street on the morning of 15th September last year, he found Stokes lying on the bed uninjured. Moments later Alex Jones and Sarah Nixon arrived, and the trio began to attack their victim.

The group tied Mr Beardmore’s hands together and laid him on the sofa, before threatening him and told him to admit that he had stolen Nixon’s car and was dealing drugs.

Fearing that he would be seriously harmed, Mr Beardmore told the group that he had some money that he could give them, but he needed a taxi to collect it.

The group agreed to order a taxi and a short time later, they led their victim out of the flat and down to the ground floor to exit the building. As they did so, Mr Beardmore managed to escape and sought help from a member of the public outside, who called the police.

Officers swiftly attended the scene and arrested Nixon. Jones and Stokes both fled the area on foot but were both subsequently arrested.

The trio all pleaded guilty to attempted robbery of Mr Beardmore, as well as assault and unlawfully imprisoning him, and were sentenced at Chester Crown court last Friday.

Jones, aged 31, of Banky Fields, Congleton, was jailed for 22 months as was 40-year-old Nixon, of Bradwell Grove, Congleton, while Stokes, (26), of West Street, Congleton, was sent prison for 18 months.

Following the sentencing Det Cons Jamie Roberts, said: “This was an absolutely terrifying ordeal and I welcome the sentences handed to the defendants.

“The victim believed that Stokes was his friend and went to the flat to make sure he was ok.

“Little did he know that he had been set up and was about to be ambushed and assaulted by three people who he trusted.

“Thankfully he was able to escape before he came to serious harm, although the outcome could have been far worse.”

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