Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text SWINDON NEWS to 80360 or email us
Drug hallucinations led to a kidnap bid
9:30am Monday 28th May 2012 in News
A MAN who frogmarched an elderly neighbour from his house, telling the pensioner he must go to church, has been jailed for nearly 10 months.
But Thomas Kennedy walked free from court as he had spent several weeks in custody on remand and on a tagged curfew for more than nine months.
The 38-year-old, whose huge cannabis use had led to hallucinations, believed he was dead when he went to the neighbour’s house and dragged the old man out.
Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court how 72-year-old William Slade, who has limited mobility, was at home on August 20.
He said: “His carers had been in to see him when somebody came in, took hold of him, and told him to ‘walk, walk’.
“He was taken outside, fell, and grazed his knees. Mr Slade wasn’t really able to give the police a lot more than that.”
But he said neighbours saw what happened after hearing a commotion from the house in Freshbrook shortly before 6pm.
Mr Meeke said: “They could hear their neighbour shouting and looked out to see Mr Slade was being held up against his front wall by the defendant who was trying to drag him down the access ramp.”
He said they heard Kennedy shouting ‘You’ve got to go, I have got to take you to church,’ as he dragged him out.
Soon after, the defendant was seen sitting on the kerb talking to an ‘invisible person’ saying ‘you told me to take him to church’.
He was arrested and gave the police a peculiar account saying he had been hallucinating and that he believed he was doing the victim ‘a favour’. Towards the end of his interview, he told officers ‘I know it sounds weird, but I thought I was dead’.
Kennedy, of Lynmouth Road, Churchward, pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted kidnap.
Rosie Walsh, defending, said her client had accepted from the outset what he had done and was very sorry.
“Though it was a terrible incident in many ways, throughout there appears to have been no intention to physically harm Mr Slade at all,” she said.
Judge Douglas Field said: “You pleaded guilty to attempted kidnap: on the face of it that is a very serious charge but the offence of kidnap can take all different forms.
“The sentence for kidnap has to be commensurate with what actually happened. It was a bizarre incident.
“Your victim, 72 and not in good health, being manhandled out of his house into the street and you saying he has got to go to church.
“It must have been very frightening and unpleasant for him. I am quite satisfied you were hallucinating and that was because of your long-term cannabis use.”
He jailed him for 280 days but because he had served 24 days on remand and 248 days on a 10-hour curfew it was deemed he had served his time.