Three men jailed for kidnap and assault - Bedfordshire

26/07/2012

A former Olympic hopeful has been jailed for 12-years for the public's protection after kidnapping and torturing a man for money. Disgraced Julian Hughes-John, aged 31, who represented Great Britain in its Bobsleigh team throughout Europe, was part of a trio who bundled their victim into a van whilst brandishing a shotgun and wearing balaclavas, before hammering a drill bit into his ankle.

It was only by chance that a passing police car spotted the suspicious van parked in Selsey Road, Luton, Bedfordshire, and stopped to speak to the driver.

But the driver pulled away, before stopping further down the road and fleeing with his accomplices on 24 March last year. The trio were later captured.

On checking the inside of the vehicle, officers were shocked to find a 32-year-old Luton man tied up, after being kidnapped as he walked home along Colin Road close to the junction of Stockingstone Road that evening.

Judge David Farrell QC told the defendants during sentencing at Luton Crown Court today, Thursday, 26 July 2012, that it was a calculated and ruthless attack which left a man fearing for his life.

He said: "This was a carefully planned and ruthlessly executed kidnapping.

"It was a significantly serious and violent assault in which you deliberately incapacitated the victim to prevent him escaping, perhaps in order to tell you where the money was.

"It was only because of the timely arrival of the police that this was bought to an end. The victim feared what else might have happened to him, had they not passed by."

He added that the victim has suffered serious psychological effects since the 25-minute long attack.

The court heard how the three had targeted their victim, believing he had access to substantial amounts of money.

They had even followed the victim's girlfriend earlier in the day, before waiting for him near to her house and pouncing on him as he got out of his car.

Judge Farrell repeatedly stressed that if it wasn't for the timely and coincidental passing of the police car, it is not known what else the victim might have been subjected to.

Julian Hughes-John, from Luxembourg Close, Luton, was found guilty of kidnap and grievous bodily harm with intent and was sentenced to 12-years in prison with a public protection order, meaning he will be on licence for a minimum of ten years after he has completed his sentence, half of which must be served in custody.

The court heard how, after being imprisoned ten years ago for his part in an armed robbery, Hughes-John turned his life around through sport, being selected to compete in the British bobsleigh team across Europe. But after the U.S refused him a visa to enter the country and compete, because of his violent history, he turned back to a life of crime.

Judge Farrell said: "After managing to rebuild your life, your willingness to return to crime at such a ruthless and serious level when things did not work out satisfies me that there is a strong risk to the public of serious harm.

"You are a person who is cool, calculated and can use your intelligence in a way that can and does present a real danger to the public.

"I am therefore imposing a public protection order on you."

Dean Raeside, aged 23, from Stephens Close, Luton, was found guilty of the same offences and was jailed for 12-years, and must serve a minimum of six years in prison.

Dean Wright, aged 27, from Rivergate House, Luton, the driver of the van, pleaded guilty to kidnap and was convicted of GBH with intent. He was sentenced to 11-years, half of which will be served in custody.

Both were spared public protection orders.

A fourth man believed to be involved in the attack was not captured.

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