West Norfolk man tells how he was threatened to get in car

PUBLISHED: 18:18 08 January 2014 | UPDATED: 18:19 08 January 2014

Norwich Crown Court

Norwich Crown Court

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A 41 year-old man, who is alleged to have been kidnapped and beaten by members of a West Norfolk traveller family, told how he was made to get into a car and taken to an address against his will, a court heard.

The man and his partner, who was heavily pregnant at the time, were both kidnapped on separate occasions and violently assaulted, so that the woman eventually made a false confession that her partner had smothered the grandmother with a pillow and had been stealing from her, Norwich Crown Court heard.

The court has heard how trouble flared after the death of Gertrude Frankham, who died in December 2012, at her home in Walpole St Andrew.

John Farmer, prosecuting, said that Mrs Frankham died of natural causes, and this was confirmed when her body was later exhumed, but members of her family got it into their head she had been murdered.

Giving evidence via video link, the man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, told the jury how members of the family had asked him if he might know who had burgled Mrs Frankham’s home,

He said he was told that crockery had been broken and items taken from the home of Mrs Frankham but he said he did not know who might have done it.

However later he claimed he was asked to get into a car, by members of the family, while he was waiting to pick up his child from school, despite him telling them he did not want to go.

He said he was threatened so he got into the car and was taken to an address nearby where there were about 20 men and women standing around waiting for the car to arrive.

He said that when he got out of the vehicle he was knocked to the ground.

“I can’t tell you 100 percent who did it.”

He said he then felt a number of punches and kicks.

“It felt like a dream. I was effectively going in and out of consciousness.”

He said he then heard someone shout to get him into a warehouse.

“I don’t remember who transferred me to the warehouse.”

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

Other family members, who deny any involvement and are on trial are Violet Chilton, 57, of Dades Lane, Wisbech, 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; Thomas Chilton, 29, of Dades Lane, Wisbech, who denies kidnap, false imprisonment and wounding with intent.

Also in the dock are Jason Chilton, 27, of Dades Lane, Wisbech, 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 who cannot be named, who denies kidnap, false imprisonment and wounding with intent.

The trial continues.

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