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East Lancs kidnap victim punched, kicked, stripped and dumped
A TERRIFIED man was kidnapped, beaten up, driven around for five hours and dumped half naked by two men.
Michael Price-Rutherford, 22, was bundled into the back of a van by Daniel Howarth and Daniel Finn who suspected him of being a burglar.
Nelson man Price-Rutherford, who believed they were 'going to kill me', was punched in the face, had his tooth chipped, and kicked to the ground, Preston Crown Court heard.
His ordeal finally ended when he was made to take off his jacket, T-shirt, socks and shoes and left crying in a street in Bolton.
Howarth, of Burnley Road, Blackburn, and Finn, from Blackpool, were both jailed after pleading guilty to kidnap. Howarth received 44 months after he was also sentenced for criminal damage and burglary relating to another incident.
Finn, of Whalley Road, was given 27 months behind bars.
A judge said the pair had inflicted a ‘humiliating revenge’ on Price-Rutherford and that if their actions were not severely punished, it could lead to ‘anarchy’.
Judge Graham Knowles said: “You decided to punish this man for what you were convinced he had done. Your message, ‘cross us and you will pay the price’.
“If the courts were to allow that kind of message without severe punishment, the result would be anarchy.
“If you cross the law, you must pay the price.”
Preston Crown Court heard Howarth, 22, and Finn, 27, and an unknown third man picked up Price-Rutherford from Rothesay Road, Blackburn, after Finn’s girlfriend’s house was broken into in June last year.
A neighbour had taken a photograph of Price-Rutherford, formerly of Railway Street, and another man as they made their way into the property, which Finn was shown.
After arriving at the house, Finn grabbed Price-Rutherford by the right arm and pulled him towards the side door of the van.
Prosecuting, David Clarke said: “He tried to resist, but the man was too strong.
”Outside of the house, Howarth took hold of his other arm and he and Finn forced him into the van.”
Finn turned to the victim and punched him in the face causing a chip to his tooth.
The vehicle then set off, but when the men realised Price-Rutherford could not tell them where the stolen property was, he was punched another seven or eight times before being forced into the back of the van.
The shutters were pulled down and the van was driven around for another five hours. Price-Rutherford did not know where he was.
When he was taken out of the van, the men had a pit bull type dog and he was made to take off some of his clothes before he was punched and kicked to the ground.
The defendants drove off and Price-Rutherford eventually found a house, where the police were called.
Reading from a victim impact statement from Price-Rutherford, Mr Clarke said: “Throughout this time I was so scared I started crying.
“I honestly thought they were going to kill me.”
Adrian Williams, defending Howarth, said: “It was undoubtedly a deeply frightening incident for the victim.
“Whatever he had done, this is a case of two men taking the law into their own hands, which should not have happened.
“When they did not get what they wanted, it became an assault and that became kidnap. Neither men set out with that hope in mind.”
Judge Knowles said: “When there is a burglary, we have specialists to deal with it. The evidence could have been handed to them on a plate at any stage.
“The police bring people to court and people like me punish them, like you know.
“But what you decided to do was to execute a humiliating revenge and inflict punishment.”
Price-Rutherford has admitted burglary and will be sentenced on May 1 at Preston Crown Court.
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