Retrial ordered in kidnapping case

A Norwich man jailed after a jury convicted him of kidnapping the manager of a garden centre, who miraculously escaped from the boot of her car, has had his convictions quashed by top judges.

A Norwich man jailed after a jury convicted him of kidnapping the manager of a garden centre, who miraculously escaped from the boot of her car, has had his convictions quashed by top judges.

Andrew McKinnon Paton, 55, of Lefroy Road, Norwich, was jailed for eight years at Norwich Crown Court in July 2004 after he was convicted of kidnapping, false imprisonment and possessing an imitation firearm.

But Lord Justice Toulson - sitting with Mr Justice Walker at London's Criminal Appeal Court - today quashed his convictions because of flaws in the trial judge's directions to the jury.

However, Mr Paton, who once worked as a Father Christmas at the garden centre, must now face a retrial.

The prosecution claimed Mr Paton carried out the kidnapping in September 2001, ambushing Susan Flaxman - manager of the South View garden centre, in Fritton, near Great Yarmouth - as she returned to her cottage by night.

Her masked attacker allegedly bound Ms Flaxman's hands and flung a pillow over her head, before bundling her into the boot of her own BMW following a short struggle.

Most Read

But the "resourceful" victim was able to untie herself and escape from the boot using a tool-kit she had to hand, said Lord Justice Toulson.

Mr Paton denied being the kidnapper.

No date was set for the retrial.