Cornwall

Steven Challands jailed for holiday attack on mother and children

Steven Challands Image copyright Devon and Cornwall Police
Image caption Steven Challands inflicted 'unimaginable terror' on a young family, the court heard

A man who kidnapped and tortured a young family on holiday in Cornwall has been jailed for 14 years.

Lorry driver Steven Challands subjected a mother and her three young children to "unimaginable terror" in a five-hour ordeal, a Truro Crown Court heard.

The 34-year-old from Rotherham, Yorkshire handcuffed the woman to a bed and stabbed her in the neck.

He admitted wounding with intent, grievous bodily harm, assault and four counts of false imprisonment.

Cable ties

The court heard the mother, who cannot be named, woke in the middle of the night at an apartment in Sennen to find her attacker beating her with a metal bar.

He used cable ties to restrain the children, all under ten years old, and beat them in the "premeditated" attack in the early hours of 03 May 2014.

Philip Lee for the prosecution told the court: "She woke up to find the defendant in the process of striking her to the head with a metal bar.

"In another hand he held a kitchen knife which he used to stab her in the stomach and the head.

"She feared he intended to kill her and then kill her children."

'Chilling and disturbing'

Mr Lee said the children were gagged for some of the time and "each of them feared he would kill them".

The ordeal began at about 01:00 and ended five hours later when the mother escaped and raised the alarm.

Judge Christopher Harvey Clark said the circumstances were "extremely chilling and disturbing".

He told Challands: "You had been planning for some time to inflict some degree of violence and in effect to kidnap and torture this innocent family."

The judge said they had been left "deeply traumatised".

He said: "During the time when they were in your power they must have thought they were about to be killed - to be murdered in cold blood."

In mitigation Andrew Langdon QC said Challands, a HGV driver, had left school with no qualifications and "felt his life was a failure".

Challands of Purcell Close, Maltby, was sentenced to 14 years in jail and four years on licence for wounding with intent with other sentences to run concurrently.

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