Kenilworth man among three who 'humiliated and tortured' a 19-year-old in false imprisonment ordeal
A young man was subjected to a horrific six-hour ordeal at his ex-girlfriend’s home, during which he was attacked, robbed, bound and forced to drink a urine-laced liquid from a dog bowl.
During a humiliating ordeal at the hands of Kathleen Phelan, her new boyfriend and a friend of his, the victim also had a knife jabbed at his chest and was led around like a dog.
Although Phelan’s new boyfriend George Russell-Brookes played the leading role, their victim was terrified to hear her saying at one stage: “We don’t want him dead yet.”
Russell-Brookes, his friend Christopher Emery and Phelan pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to the false imprisonment of their 19-year-old victim, who the court heard had health problems.
Russell-Brookes (20) of Thimbler Road, Canley, Coventry, was jailed for five years and three months, and Emery (19) of Finham Road, Kenilworth, for four years and nine months.
Phelan (18) of Clarendon Mews, Earlsdon, Coventry, who had to be given a reduction because she was only 17 at the time she entered her plea, was sentenced to three years detention.
Prosecutor James Dunstan said their victim, who suffers from Crohn’s disease, had previously been in a relationship with Phelan, who had then begun a relationship with Russell-Brookes.
Her ex accepted that, but was concerned that she was being treated badly by Russell-Brookes.
On August 17 last year a Polaroid printer for Phelan had been delivered to his home, so he took it round to her flat.
The door was answered by Russell-Brookes who invited him inside – but then shoved him forcefully across the living room to the floor as Phelan locked the door behind him.
Russell-Brookes pulled him to his feet, only to push him over again and punch and kick him, causing bleeding to his nose and mouth, as his six-hour ordeal began.
At first Phelan was shouting at him to stop, but then demanded their victim’s phone and pushed his head against the wall with such force that the plaster cracked.
She ordered him to make a call to get her WiFi connection re-established, which he did and then asked to leave, but was told by Russell-Brookes: “No, I’ve got so much more for you.”
He was forced to do things intended to humiliate him, including performing impressions of TV personalities and would be slapped or kicked if they were not good enough.
Russell-Brookes made a FaceTime call to Emery, telling him: “I’m on top of the world with this little rat I’ve got here.”
And Emery watched as their victim was made to snort lines of salt, which made his nose run, and after he had been given a tissue to blow his nose, he was forced to eat it, causing him to vomit, at which all three of his tormentors began laughing.
Phelan then got a cleaning spray containing bleach and sprayed it on his face and arms, causing a burning sensation and bleaching spots to appear on his clothes as she laughed and said: “We don’t want him dead yet.”
She and Russell-Brookes took turns to sit on his chest, and she began jabbing him to the chest with a knife as Russell-Brookes told Emery to come over and to bring some rope with him.
Phelan took hold of their victim’s finger and used it to activate his phone and to access his bank account from which she transferred £150 into her own account before using it to make purchases and to pay for Emery’s taxi.
When he arrived with a four-metre length of rope, it was used to tie their victim’s legs together and was tied round his neck before he was led around and made to ‘act like a dog.’
They then ordered him to drink from a dog bowl in which they had mixed water, urine, beer and salt, telling him if he did not do so they would keep him for another 24 hours.
He was eventually allowed to leave, being warned not to say anything, but he told a friend who told his parents who then contacted the victim’s parents and the police were called – and the three defendants were arrested at Phelan’s flat.
Nick Berry, for Russell-Brookes, said: “The incident itself had significant ramifications for the victim, and what is about to happen will have serious ramifications on these three.
“It was a sickening incident. His behaviour was utterly wicked,” conceded Mr Berry, who said Russell-Brookes had had ambitions to become a vet, which would now be questionable.
Peter Cooper, for Emery, also accepted he would receive a custodial sentence, but pointed out he had mental health issues and had not been involved at the outset of the incident.
Judge Andrew Lockhart QC commented: “He came to the party and that aggravates his offending because it became a planned event, and he brought a rope.”
Mr Cooper said that was in response to a request from his friend, adding: “He was susceptible to the influence of the person in charge. He says what happened was horrible. He is ashamed both of what he did and what he did not do.”
Rebecca Wade, for Phelan, argued that it was ‘her age and her background that sets her apart and enables Your Honour to make a distinction with her co-defendants.’
She said: “It started with her trying to stop what was happening before becoming an active participant. She is ashamed of the part she played in this awful episode.
“The defendant accepts the offence is an exceptionally serious one, but the sentence you impose is likely to impact on the rest of her life. If Your Honour were to pass a custodial sentence, the impact may be catastrophic.”
But jailing all three, Judge Lockhart said: “You Mr Russell-Brookes were intent on violence from the outset.
“At that stage Kathleen Phelan you were shouting at him to stop, but you flipped from that to heavy engagement in what followed.
“You Mr Emery knew someone was being held like a rat, and you went to join in.
“There was torture and humiliation. Any human being subjected by a fellow human being to this type of conduct will be seriously affected by it.
“In my judgement this is a very grave offence of false imprisonment, and in all your cases only a significant sentence of custody can be considered.”