Man admits taking items from skip after west Norfolk grandmother died

Norwich Crown Court Norwich Crown Court

Friday, January 10, 2014
4:57 PM

A 41 year-old man, who is alleged to have been kidnapped and beaten by members of a West Norfolk traveller family, admitted that he had taken items without permission from a skip outside the Walpole St Andrew home of the family’s late grandmother,

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The man, and his partner, who was heavily pregnant at the time, were both kidnapped on separate occasions and violently assaulted, so 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.

The prosecution has told the jury how although Mrs Frankham died of natural causes, the family got it into their head, she had been murdered.

The man, who cannot be named by court order, has been giving evidence via video link and in cross-examination admitted that he had taken items from a skip outside the property of Mrs Frankham, after she had died.

“I thought it was junk. It was odds and ends, pieces of wood and old pots and pans and things like that.”

He said he took the items in January through till February and did not think he needed to ask anyone.

“I did not think anyone would mind. I thought it was going to burnt or taken to be dumped. I thought no one would mind.”

Asked by one of the defence barristers, Greg Perrins, if he thought it was right just to help himself to the property, he replied.

“Yes it was dishonest but I really did not think they would mind.”

He said he did not know that any items he handled had been stolen from Mrs Frankham’s property.

He also admitted taking items he had been given by another man to sell to an antiques dealer, and said it was only later he realised where they had come from, when told that Mrs Frankham’s home had been burgled.

“I put two and two together.”

He admitted that he had been arrested for handling stolen goods.

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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