Men sentenced after fake Stevenage kidnapping prank
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Two men have been fined and ordered to do community service after admitting staging a fake kidnapping.
Thomas Lennon, 25, of Cherry Close in Knebworth, and Shane Pomroy, 27, of Burydale in Stevenage, appeared at Stevenage Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Tuesday) after both pleaded guilty to charges of wasting police time and sending an indecent message via public communication.
The court heard how Lennon told his partner, Stephanie Bennett, that he was going out for a drink on Sunday, January 27.
She later received a photo, via social media application WhatsApp, from an unknown number showing Lennon apparently being held captive by a man in a balaclava.
The photo was followed by a message reading: “Want £2,000 come home safe”, followed by a second one reading: “Well?”
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Miss Bennett contacted the police and Lennon’s family began looking for him. His mother, Deborah, eventually managed to contact him. He told her that he had been abducted and driven around town with a gun to his head.
He was later arrested by officers and charged.
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Police discovered the image and messages had been sent by Pomroy, a cousin of one of Lennon’s friends, and that he was the man pictured wearing the balaclava.
Lennon admitted the whole thing had been a “big joke” and that he had not wanted to return home as he had been under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Speaking in his defence, Rosie Langman QC said: “Mr Lennon has no recollection of sending the message and it is an offence which he deeply regrets. He was under the influence of a large quantity of drugs and acted highly out of character.”
Lennon was sentenced to perform 200 hours community service, attend five alcohol rehabilitation sessions and pay £85 towards court costs, and a £60 victim surcharge.
Pomroy also admitted assaulting his ex-girlfriend, Jade Scott, on February 5.
He was given a six-week suspended sentence, 120 hours of community service and also ordered to pay £145.