Nottingham

Nottingham pair kidnapped child after holding woman hostage

Picture of imitation firearm Image copyright Nottinghamshire Police
Image caption The pair bought an imitation handgun which they used to threaten their victim

A man and woman have been jailed after they held a woman hostage for more than seven hours and kidnapped a child.

A court heard the plan was for the man to take the child to Algeria, but he was arrested moments before take-off.

The pair admitted false imprisonment, child abduction, making threats to kill and possession of an imitation firearm.

Judge Stuart Rafferty said the man was "dangerous beyond doubt" and they "never put the interests of the young child first".

He handed him a 15-year prison sentence, saying he would be deported after, and sentenced the woman to seven years in prison.

'Petrified by situation'

Nottingham Crown Court heard the pair - who cannot be named for legal reasons - bought a fake gun and flight tickets the day before.

"What followed was an appalling incident," said Jonathan Cox, prosecuting.

He said at 02:40 BST on 1 August, they broke into a Nottingham house as the female occupant slept.

The pair, from the city, tied her up using tape and ropes, gagged her and repeatedly threatened to kill her.

"She was fully bound and helpless in her own bed, faced with what she thought was a real gun," added Mr Cox.

"No doubt she was petrified by the situation."

He said the victim was knocked unconscious before the 45-year-old man fled with a child, who had also been sleeping in the room.

Image caption Det Ch Insp Pete Quinn said the couple had "complete disregard for the child's safety and wellbeing"

The court heard the 43-year-old female accomplice called police at about 11:00 BST - hours after the "terrifying" ordeal began.

Det Ch Insp Pete Quinn, from Nottinghamshire Police, said by this time, the man was mid-flight with the child from Heathrow to Madrid.

The man was then arrested in Spain "with seconds to spare" before his connecting flight to Algeria took off.

"It was almost a very desperate situation," said Det Ch Insp Quinn.

"Had that flight taken off, our chances of recovering the child would have been greatly reduced.

"His actions were so reckless and selfish, and not the actions of a responsible adult. We couldn't be confident the child was ever safe while in his care.

"I hope the child is of an age where they won't remember this but it is important to remember the basic disregard the man and woman had for that child's safety, wellbeing and welfare."

Judge Rafferty said the pair had been "determined" to carry out their plan "not caring who might be hurt".

"You broke into the woman's house in the dead of night, overpowering her by whatever force was required," he added.

"The child must have seen what was happening. One only hopes the memory of that will not linger."

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