Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Mobile Trace Led to Kidnap Gang

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Mobile Trace Led to Kidnap Gang

Article excerpt

Byline: By Helen Rae

Phone data gives vital clue in blackmail bid

A mobile phone led police to a kidnap gang who held a businessman to ransom for 30 hours.

Peter Morrison, 44, from Cullercoats, was part of the group who bound and gagged Washington-born building contractor Tony Pattison in a plot to blackmail his brother, Jonathon.

Morrison, and accomplices Michael Collins, 44, of Highland Road, Hartlepool, Bronson Tyers, 31, of Low Lane, High Leven, near Yarm, and Colin Threadgill, 43, of Belle Vue Road, Middlesbrough, were jailed for a total of 42 years yesterday.

Evidence from a recovered mobile phone helped police unlock the secrets of the plot and revealed the gang members' movements over the 48-hour period Mr Pattison was held.

Det Chief Insp Tony Riordan, who led the 18-month investigation, said: "The calls made left a footprint in electronic snow and created an almost blinding blizzard of data through which we tracked down the key players involved."

The case was so complex with telephone data times and cell phone analysis that for the first time at Teesside Crime Court a power-point presentation was used to simplify matters for the judge and jury. A total of pounds 14,000 was spent on installing specialist equipment in the courtroom to display the information on a range of screens.

DCI Riordan said the examination of the one telephone ( and analysis of mobile telephone masts in Tyneside, Durham, Cleveland and North Yorkshire revealed a treasure trove of intelligence.

It showed nine mobiles were used by gang members and the calls they made allowed officers to place them to within a few hundred yards throughout the crucial times of the kidnap.

Other forensic tests produced DNA samples taken from clothing dumped in a hut where victim Tony Pattison was held for a time which positively identified one gang member. …

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