Man alleged to have been kidnapped and beaten by West Norfolk family denies involvement in death of their grandmother

18:09 06 January 2014

Gertrude Frankham, who died on December 4, 2012.

Gertrude Frankham, who died on December 4, 2012.

A 41-year-old man, who is alleged to have been kidnapped and beaten by members of a West Norfolk traveller family, denied 100 percent that he had any involvement in the death of their grandmother, a court heard.

The man and his partner, who was heavily pregnant at the time, were both kidnapped on separate occasions and violently assaulted, so that the woman eventually made a false confession that her partner had smothered the grandmother with a pillow and had been stealing from her, Norwich Crown Court heard.

West Norfolk family kidnapped and beat man and his pregnant partner, court hears

John Farmer, prosecuting, said trouble flared after the death of Gertrude Frankham, who died on December at her home in Walpole St Andrew.

He said Mrs Frankham died of natural causes, and this was confirmed after her body was later exhumed, but members of her family got it into their head that she had been murdered.

Giving evidence via a video link, the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denied any involvement in the death of Mrs Frankham.

He said that he had befriended her and as she was in poor health had done odd errands for her.

He said he had not seen her for a number of days before her death.

Asked by Mr Farmer if he had any involvement in her death he replied: “Definitely not. One hundred percent.”

There are five defendants who have already admitted their part in what happened to the couple.

Other family members who deny any involvement and are on trial are Violet Chilton, 57, of Dades Lane, Wisbech, who denies blackmail, false imprisonment and wounding with intent; Edward Dolan, jnr, 18, of Flower Farm Bungalow, Walpole who denies kidnap, false imprisonment and wounding with intent; Thomas Chilton, 29, of Dades Lane, Wisbech, who denies kidnap, false imprisonment and wounding with intent.

Also in the dock are Jason Chilton, 27, of Dades Lane, Wisbech who denies kidnap, false imprisonment and wounding with intent and Vanessa Frankham, 48, of Wisbech Road, Walplole St Andrew, who denies kidnap, blackmail, wounding with intent and robbery

Diane Evans, 18, of Cherry Road, Wisbech, denies one count of false imprisonment and a 17 year old who cannot be named, who denies kidnap, false imprisonment and wounding with intent.

The trial continues.

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