Two wounding charges are dropped against one member of a Fenland family, who are on trial, as defence case starts at Norwich Crown Court

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One of the members of a Fenland family accused of being involved in the kidnap and assault of a couple, has been cleared of two wounding charges he faced on direction of the trial judge.

Norwich Crown Court heard how trouble flared after the death of Gertrude Frankham, in December 2012, at her home in Walpole St Andrew.

It is alleged the woman, who was heavily pregnant and her partner, were kidnapped on separate occasions and assaulted so she made a false confession that her partner had smothered the grandmother with a pillow and had been stealing from her.

On direction of Judge Stephen Holt, Jason Chilton, 27, of Dades Lane, Wisbech, was found not guilty of wounding the woman with intent and also cleared of an alternative charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

He still is on trial for kidnap and false imprisonment.

Five other defendants have already admitted their part in what happened to the couple.

Other family members on trial are Violet Chilton, 57, of Dades Lane, who denies blackmail, false imprisonment and wounding with intent; Edward Dolan, jnr, 18, of Flower Farm Bungalow, Walpole who denies kidnap, false imprisonment and wounding with intent; and Thomas Chilton, 29, of Dades Lane, who denies kidnap, false imprisonment and wounding with intent.

Also in the dock are Vanessa Frankham, 48, of Wisbech Road, Walpole St Andrew, who denies kidnap, blackmail, wounding with intent and robbery.

Diane Evans, 18, of Cherry Road, Wisbech, denies one count of false imprisonment, and a 17 year-old denies kidnap, false imprisonment and wounding with intent.

Vanessa Frankham, has started her defence and told the jury she had no idea the man involved in the case had been kidnapped and said that his partner had only told her that he had been mugged while out walking the dog.

She also told the jury she had been estranged from her mother-in-law Gertrude Frankham after the death of her husband and had not spoke to her for more than five years before her death in 2012.

The trial continues.

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