Category: Weird Articles
Published on Monday, 05 November 2018 00:00
Written by Cheryl Teo Kai Lin
A British man who was so deprived of knocking a couple of cold ones back with his friends resorted to faking his own kidnapping out of sheer desperation to get out of his house. His escape plan managed to land him in jail for 16 weeks and miss the birth of his child.
During some time in January 2018, 45 year old Leigh Ford from Blackpool, England, made se veral franctic phone calls to his pregnant girlfriend, Zoe Doyle, telling her that he had been kidnapped and that he was going to be tortured unless she transferred all the money she had into the kidnappers' bank account. Zoe dismissed it as a prank initially, but Leigh persisted with his act of sounding frenzied and scared, and there were other men shouting in the background, threatening to cut off Leigh's legs and pour hot water on him. So she complied, but also secretly called the police.
“At first, I just thought he was winding me up,” 35-year-old Zoe said. “But he sounded really scared. The phone went dead and then it rang again. I could hear men shouting in the background, threatening to break Leigh’s legs and throw boiling water over him. They were threatening to mutilate him, cut off his genitals, and I was panic-stricken.”
Leigh kept screaming and begging his girlfriend, who was 35 weeks into her pregnancy at the time, to comply with the kidnappers' demands. So she transferred all the money she had – all £80 of her life savings into the provided bank account, before she alerted law enforcement.
A helicopter and a trained hostage negotiator were called in for what sounded like a complicated situation, but no one called again until next morning, when Leigh himself came home like nothing had ever happened.
The police were still camped in his house apparently awaiting a call from the supposed kidnappers when he returned home. After asking him a few questions, they arrested him for wasting police time and resources. At first, the 45-year-old kept lying about what had really happened, but after the police found video evidence of himself and two friends leaving a shop and carrying booze, he confessed to making up the whole kidnapping thing.
“He appeared in court the following day and I was stunned when I heard the truth. I just couldn’t believe that Leigh would do that. He had wasted all those police resources. He had put me through hell,” Zoe said. “The silly thing was, it was his own money. He could have spent it if he had wanted. It just didn’t make sense.”
Leigh Ford apologized to his girlfriend for subjecting her to such a traumatizing ordeal, blaming his friends for putting him up to it, and because they had all had a few drinks, he just couldn’t think straight. Despite being extremely angry, Zoe eventually forgave him, as she is convinced he really loves her.
Unfortunately for Ford, the judge was not as magnanimous as Zoe. For wasting around £30,000 worth of police resources during the unnecessary 24 hour rescue operation, Leigh Ford was sentenced to 16 weeks in jail. The sentence went into effect in February and caused the prankster to miss the birth of his child.
“This is a bizarre case… a prank which went totally wrong,” said Ford’s defense lawyer. “The whole kidnap story had been made up by Ford to get his hands on a small amount of money. He had no idea what the police reaction was going to be. He was stupid and it was out-of-character.”
This man's level of dedication towards drinking is admirable. Stupid as balls, but the effort is commendable.