Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Six years jail for man who abducted business associate

A kidnap victim begged for the Last Rites during two days of terror after he was abducted, handcuffed, assaulted and robbed.

Spaniard Ricardo Cerdan was threatened with a Samurai sword and a dirty hypodermic syringe during the ordeal.

He was denied food and water for more than 24 hours.

He eventually managed to free himself and escaped by diving through a living room window and pleaded for help from council workmen gritting the street.

Now his tormentor, Malawi-born Fundo Mhura, 29, a former Scottish boxing champion, has been jailed after admitting a catalogue of charges.

The High Court in Edinburgh was told Mhura and Mr Cerdan had been business associates and were involved with a third man called Mr Saunders, from London, who thought Mr Cerdan had ripped him off.

He asked Mhura to help recover the money, a sum running into tens of thousands of pounds.

Mr Cerdan travelled from London to Edinburgh by train and was taken to Kirknewton by two friends of Mhura on the evening of Sunday January 20.

Test message

In a house in Kaimes Crescent they talked about the claim that money had gone missing.

Advocate depute Andrew Brown QC, prosecuting, said: "Without warning Mhura approached him and forced him face down on the bed, put his knee in his back and handcuffed his wrists behind his back. He shackled Mr Cerdan's ankles with two sets of handcuffs."

Bizarrely, he then used Mr Cerdan's phone to send a text message stating: "I would phone you but I'm a little bit tied up right now."

Traumatised Mr Cerdan later told police he was not sure of the order of events over the next two days.

But he recalled Mhura took all the cash from his jacket pocket and showed him a bottle of liquid and threatened to blind him with acid.

He was also threatened with a Samurai sword and a dirty hypodermic syringe.

Mhura said Mr Saunders planned to send "Jamaicans" and told Mr Cerdan he would be taken away in a bag.

Single banana

Sometimes Mr Cerdan's legs were bound with tape and he was gagged while Mhura made phone calls.

At night he was tied to a 50kg (110lb) weight and had to survive on a single banana and a little water.

Mhura would not let him use the bathroom.

Mr Brown said: "Mr Cerdan was in fear of his life. At one point he indicated to Mhura that if he was going to kill him he would do it himself by using ropes hanging from the ceiling in the room Mhura used as a gym."

On the morning of Tuesday January 22 Mhura left the house and Mr Cerdan was able to escape.

His ordeal only ended when he eventually managed to work free from tape binding his legs, using the sword which Mhura had left on the floor.

He then threw himself out of a living room window on to a snow-covered garden, still handcuffed.

Mr Cerdan, who cut his head in the fall, pleaded for help from a postman and two council workers gritting the street and although still partially gagged told them: "Call the police, I've been kidnapped."

Stress disorder

Police later discovered a text message from Mhura to Mr Saunders saying Mr Cerdan had asked for his "Last Rites" and wanted to make a last call to his parents.

Mr Cerdan had red marks left by the handcuffs, a minor head injury from his fall and three small cuts to his wrist, probably caused by the Samurai sword as he cut himself free. He suffers from post traumatic stress disorder as a result.

Defence advocate Kevin McCallum admitted: "Whoever the money was owed by or to, it would not excuse the conduct Mhura engaged in."

He said Mhura grew up in Scotland and joined Leith Victoria boxing club before winning a bronze medal at the 2006 European Amateur Boxing Championships.

He also won a Scottish welterweight title and fought at middleweight before an eye problem forced him to withdraw from the British Olympic training squad in 2007.

Olympic hopeful Mhura had "gone off the rails" after that but his condition had since improved and Mhura believed he could pass a medical which would allow the British Boxing Board of Control to return his licence.

Mhura, of Kaimes Crescent, Kirknewton, admitted abduction, assault and robbing Mr Cerdan of £3000 but insisted that he had no intention of actually harming Mr Cerdan.

Lord Uist told him that if he had been convicted after trial he would have gone to prison for eight and a half years. Because of his guilty plea the sentence would be cut to six years and five months.

Sentencing him, the judge said he had shown only "superficial remorse" and added: "On any view this was shockingly lawless conduct of a serious nature which cannot be tolerated in a civilised society."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites