Politics

Mum hysterical as blackmailing attackers threatened to pour acid on son’s face

A terrified mum could hear her son ‘moaning’ over the phone as three men threatened to cover his face in acid if she did not cover a £500 debt within 15 minutes.

Callum Lawn, 19, Stephen Lawn, 20, and James Geddes, 22, were sentenced to prison over the brutal attack and blackmail which left their victim fearing he was going to die.

Preston Crown Court heard the man’s brother also felt his life was in danger when the thugs called and said he would ‘get it’ if he did not cough up the cash, Lancs Live reports.

Callum Lawn, of Brock Avenue, Fleetwood, was locked up for five years for his role in the blackmail and assault occasioning actual bodily harm, carried out on July 18 last year.

His brother Stephen, of North Promenade, Thornton Cleveleys, and Geddes, of Warrenhurst Road, Fleetwood, were jailed for three years and three months each.

Rachel Woods, prosecuting, told the court that the man, who lived in supported accommodation due to a number of difficulties, had run up the drugs debt with Lawn and was unable to pay it back.

On July 15, Stephen Lawn was seen outside the man’s home asking where he was, Ms Woods said.

On July 18, the man left his home to go and buy drugs from another dealer but as he walked along Hatfield Road, Fleetwood, Callum Lawn appeared behind him, and shouted “you’re taking the p**s”, before punching him to the ground.



Stephen Lawn was convicted alongside the two other culprits.
Stephen Lawn was convicted alongside the two other culprits.

Soon after Stephen Lawn and Geddes appeared at the scene.

The three men took their victim to a yard behind an unoccupied house in Addison Road and continued attacking him.

On the way there, the man telephoned his brother and asked if he could transfer some money to Callum Lawn’s account.

Ms Woods said the man was then told to call his mother as he was punched and kicked to his body and stamped on his head.

Geddes threatened to ‘kneecap’ the man and picked up a plank of wood to hit him.

“At one stage, Callum Lawn spoke to the man’s mother and said she had 15 minutes to transfer £500 or else he would put ammonia into her son’s face”, Ms Woods said.

“At some point the attack was curtailed by the occupants of the property, who took the man into the property and attended to him.”

The man’s mother called the police and said her son was in danger. His brother had been out walking the dog when he received the call and heard his brother sounding scared and moaning as he was being attacked.

Fearing for his brother he agreed to pay the money and was given Callum Lawn’s bank details to make the transfer.

“He thought his brother was going to be hurt or killed”, Ms Woods said.

One of the men, thought to be Geddes, told the victim’s mum: “If we don’t get it, I’ll finish him off. I’ve lost my daughter and have nothing to lose.”

The court heard Geddes was grieving for his five month old daughter who had died suddenly a few months earlier.

The victim’s mum and brother were told to go to a nearby petrol station to pay the money – but instead contacted the police.



James Geddes was sentenced to prison over the attack.
James Geddes was sentenced to prison over the attack.

The victim was found when he returned to his supported accommodation in a distressed state.

He had two black eyes, bruises to his head and body and a footprint on his forehead.

In a victim impact statement he said his mental health issues have been exacerbated and he has nightmares and sweats as a result of his ordeal.

He is frightened of being kidnapped and no longer feels safe living at the accommodation as he fears for the other residents’ safety,

All three defendants were arrested and denied blackmail and ABH but later pleaded guilty to the offences.

Judge Andrew Woolman accepted all three men had suffered difficult upbringings, involving drug use by the people who were supposed to care for them.

The blackmail was not sophisticated or planned, and the amount of money was small in the context of the offence – which can cover multi million pound corporate blackmail.

But he said: “Clearly the whole essence of this was to put the frighteners on him. He certainly was frightened.

“He rang his brother 32 times and his mother 38 times, all in an effort to persuade them to transfer the cash to Callum Lawn. The level of force applied was dreadful – and to his mother and brother.

“The frighteners were being put on to try and enforce a drug debt – the whole thing starts with illegal activity.”

Callum Lawn was sentenced to five years for blackmail and ABH, with a further year to run concurrently for drugs offences.

Stephen Lawn and James Geddes were jailed for three years and three months each.

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