A Fenland footballer accused of kidnap and false imprisonment mysteriously told his manager he needed to leave a game before running off to the changing room just eight minutes into the second half, a court heard.

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Jason Chilton, 27, of Dades Lane, Wisbech had been playing for Wisbech St Mary against Outwell Swifts but did not say why he needed to leave.

His manager Tony Putterill told the trial at Norwich Crown Court yesterday he then saw Chilton running across the car park carrying his clothes.

In cross-examination John Farmer, prosecuting, asked Mr Putterill what time Chilton had arrived at the ground, to which the manager said the defendant, who denies the charges, was there when he arrived at 2.15pm.

Earlier, Mr Farmer had tried to ascertain what time Chilton arrived at the ground during cross-examination of the defendant during which he cited phone records which appeared to show he was in a rush to get to the ground.

He claimed this was because Chilton had been delayed at the kidnap because the victim had arrived later than expected

However, Chilton, who is on trial with members of his family, denied the allegations and said he was already at the ground when he took a call from a friend.

Mr Farmer also cross-examined Thomas Chilton, 29, of Dades Lane, who has denied kidnap, false imprisonment and wounding with intent.

It is alleged the family members kidnapped a woman, who was heavily pregnant and her partner on separate occasions and assaulted them to make a false confession that her partner had smothered the grandmother with a pillow and had been stealing from her.

The court was shown CCTV of the female kidnap victim appearing to arrive at a property before walking off and being followed a short time later by a group of three men, including the 29-year-old.

However, Chilton said the reason he was following her was because he was heading home after going to find some tools at the house.

Mr Farmer challenged the claims, asking the defendant why he did not take a shorter route to get home across a paddock and suggesting the reason he followed the victim was to trap her in a “pincer movement” with two cohorts waiting at the other end of the road.

However, Chilton said the victim went into her home and he continued walking passed.

The court was also shown a video of the visibly frightened woman, who has a cut above her left eye and blood streaming down her face, being forced to make her confession.

Chilton confirmed he appeared in the video to the woman’s left, but said the reason he was looking at the ground was because he did not agree with what was going on.

His barrister Mark Tomassi also played a section of the video in which Chilton appeared to intervene to prevent the woman being hit.

Chilton said: “I don’t really know how I felt at the time, disgraceful. I was not part of that group, I would never ever do anything like that. I did not agree with it.”

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

The trial continues....

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