Thugs jailed for nearly 44 years for involvement in violent kidnap plot

One of their victims was seriously injured after escaping the moving van.

A group of men have been jailed for a combined total of almost 44 years after kidnapping two men in North Shields.

In July last year police received a report that a man had fallen from a moving van on the Coast Road in Wallsend.

A 34-year-old man was found to be seriously injured lying in the middle of the road, his wrists bound by cable ties.

Ricky FidlerRicky Fidler
Ricky Fidler

The victim was rushed to hospital in critical condition and an investigation was immediately launched.

As they were only working with a description of the van, detectives trawled nearby CCTV footage and carried out extensive house-to-house enquiries.

It was then that a second male victim- a 21-year-old- came forward to police, disclosing he had also been in the van with the 34-year-old before being moved and released from a different vehicle in the Blyth area.

The investigation revealed a horrific kidnap plot which saw Harri Pearce, Mason Schubeler, Reece Speirs and Ricky Fidler, forced entry to an address in East Howdon, cable tie their victims and bundle them into the van.

Harri PearceHarri Pearce
Harri Pearce

The thugs drove their victims around North Tyneside for more than an hour, physically threatening them with weapons and violence before the 21-year-old was moved to the other vehicle and the 34-year-old escaped.

Detectives found evidence of the kidnappers purchasing the cable ties and a padlock used at a Wallsend store less than 20 minutes before the attack was carried out.

They then found the burnt out van in North Shields and connected two other vehicles to the investigation- a silver Ford Transit van and a grey Vauxhall Astra.

Mason SchubelerMason Schubeler
Mason Schubeler

And it wasn’t long before they had arrested and charged the four men in connection with the kidnap – as well as their associate Laura Watson, who was called in to help release the second victim and clean up the crime scene.

The group previously pleaded guilty to a string of offences in February and appeared before Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday, April 6, where they were sentenced to a total of 43 years and 10 months in prison.

Thankfully, the victim who escaped the moving van was able to physically recover and did not suffer life-changing injuries.

Reece Speirs Reece Speirs
Reece Speirs

Detective Inspector Katie Smith, who led the investigation, said: “I’d like to thank the team of officers and staff who worked tirelessly on this case around the clock to put the offenders involved before the courts. I would also like to recognise the amazing support we received from people in the surrounding community, especially a mystery Good Samaritan who cut the cable ties off the first victim’s wrists on the Coast Road.

“During the course of our investigation, we discovered crucial evidence such as plastic packaging with a shop barcode on it for the cable ties used in the kidnap – as well as fingerprints on the packaging found at the scene. Not only that – but shameless Schubeler carried out the offence while wearing an electronic tag for another crime.

“Thanks to the strong case presented in court, all five offenders were ultimately left with little option but to admit their guilt and have now been jailed for a significant period of time. This really is testament to the investigation team’s hard work and efforts on the case.

Laura WatsonLaura Watson
Laura Watson

“I want to make it clear that violence of any kind is completely unacceptable – and is never the answer. We are committed to taking robust action against violent offenders to ensure that our region remains a safe place to live and work in – as well as to visit.”

Harri Pearce, 22, of Westmorland Road, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to two counts of kidnap, aggravated burglary, causing serious injury by dangerous driving and assault, and was jailed for 12 years and eight months. He was also banned from driving for 11 years and nine months, and must take an extended re-test if he wants his licence back.

Mason Schubeler, 21, of Marondale Avenue, Walker, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to two counts of kidnap, aggravated burglary and two counts of assault, as well as being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs, and was jailed for 11 years and nine months to serve in a young offender’s institution.

Reece Speirs, 23, of Norham Road, North Shields, pleaded guilty to two counts of kidnap, and assault, and was jailed for seven years and four months.

Ricky Fidler, 21, of Victoria Court, West Moor, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to two counts of kidnap, aggravated burglary, dangerous driving, and two counts of assault, and was jailed for 10 years. He was also banned from driving for nine years and six months, and must take an extended re-test if he wants his licence back.

Laura Watson, 47, pleaded guilty to one count of kidnap, and was jailed for two years and one month.

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