Liverpool

Gang who kidnapped and tortured 'wrong man' in Bootle jailed

Michael Mooney and Michael Cook Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption Michael Mooney, 42, and Michael Cook, 37, from Bootle, were both jailed

A man was kidnapped and tortured by a gang after being mistaken for his cousin's partner, a court has heard.

The 32-year-old was held in a house in Bootle for three days by the gang, who thought he was a drug dealer, and had boiling water poured over his genitals, Liverpool Crown Court heard.

Michael Mooney, 42, and Michael Cook, 37, from Bootle, admitted kidnap, false imprisonment and blackmail.

Mooney was jailed for 14 years 10 months, while Cook received 14 years.

The court heard the victim, who has not been named, was bundled into a car before being handcuffed and assaulted on 6 September 2018.

'Terrifying ordeal'

Prosecutor Martin Reid said he was hit with a hammer, stabbed in the leg and had boiling water poured over his thighs, groin and genitals.

He added the gang demanded an £80,000 ransom for the man's release and "threatened that he would end up in a canal injected with heroin if they didn't get the money".

The gang made repeated calls to the man's cousin and threatened to shoot at her home if she called police.

The court was told as time went on, the gang reduced the ransom to £6,800, but by that point, they were under police surveillance.

After the man's cousin was told to leave the money in her car at a fast food outlet, he was abandoned near Clayfield Close in Bootle.

The court heard he had physical scars, which were "a constant reminder of what happened", and the attack had "had a significant effect on his mental wellbeing".

A third man, Stephen Wilson, 29, of Bootle, also admitted the charges and will be sentenced on 6 September, following psychiatric reports.

Judge Gary Woodhall said the psychological damage caused by the "terrifying ordeal" would live with the man and his family "for a very long time, if not indefinitely".

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