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Two Men Sentenced for Kidnap, Blackmail, Robbery and Possession of a Bladed Article – Dr Chris Wood prosecutes

On the 27th July 2022 James Stephens and Bradley Wright appeared at Teesside Crown Court for sentence, whilst they had initially entered Not Guilty pleas they later changed their pleas before trial.

James Stephens and Bradley Wright travelled from their homes in London to the Teesside area on the 31st August 2019 to carry out a reconnaissance and gather intelligence on their victim. Nine days later on the 9th September 2019 whilst the victim was on his way to work and driving down a rural road, blocked his journey and removed his keys. The victim was dragged by his legs from his vehicle and subjected to numerous assaults during the ordeal, he sustained several bruises and cuts to his face, hands and legs. The defendant made demands for money, a total of £16,000 and told the victim to pay within days. The defendants made sinister remarks telling the victim that if he told police they knew where he lived and would have his children killed.

During the course of the ordeal and whilst making threats to the victim, the defendants were in possession of a bladed article and drill – the weapons were used and assist in the robbery of £500.00 cash and jewellery which was removed from the victim. The defendants degraded the victim, James Stephens consumed beer which he proceed to spit onto the victim and pour some of its contents over the victim, whilst Bradley Wright spat on the victim.

The defendants forced the victim in the boot of their car before proceeding to drive off and return to the scene within 15minutes. Upon returning the defendants continued in their threats and demands, the victim transferred £915.05 into Bradley Wright’s account, half of which was then forwarded onto James Stephens partner. Before leaving the scene the defendants repeated their threats and told the victim to remain on the ground until they had left, however the victim observed James Stephens remove his shirt and wipe down the victims car in an effort to destroy any fingerprint evidence.

The Judge agreed that there was significant planning involved, albeit there were elements of the offence which were a rolling development. The incident was prolonged and the victim had been degraded by the defendants. The incident would have been understandably traumatic for the victim in light of the sinister remarks made and the circumstances of the assault. Taking the robbery as the lead offence and aggravating that with the kidnapping and blackmail, then applying appropriate levels of credit for plea and taking account of the mitigation put forward on their behalf by their counsel, the defendants were sentenced as follows:

Bradley Wright – 8 years’ custodial sentence, with 5 years and 2 months for the kidnapping, 2 years’ 10 months for the blackmail and 4 weeks’ for the possession of the bladed article which were to run concurrently;

James Stephens – 9 years’ 7 months custodial sentence, with 7 years’ for the kidnapping, 3 years’ for the blackmail and 45 weeks’ for the possession of the bladed article which were to run concurrently.


Chris is based at our Teesside Office and practices in family and crime for both prosecution and defence. He has extensive experience in dealing with all aspects of criminal cases including rape and sexual abuse, complex financial crime, terrorism, fraud and Proceeds of Crime.

Contact Christopher’s clerks

Dan Foulger on 01642 232523

Claire Gibson on 01642 232523

Emma Gibson on 01642 232523