Kettering taxi driver's kidnapping ordeal ended when fellow cabbies blocked route

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A Kettering taxi driver who was kidnapped by customers saw his ordeal come to an end when fellow cabbies blocked their route.

The victim was at work when his taxi was booked to go to a street in Barton Seagrave, where four men got in.

They refused to pay and he was forced to begin a journey when one of them, Corey Stafford, punched him and another, Shannon Johanson, encouraged the attack.

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On Friday (June 7) the pair were both jailed for 42 months after being found guilty of kidnap by a jury.

Corey Stafford (left) and Shannon Johanson (right).Corey Stafford (left) and Shannon Johanson (right).
Corey Stafford (left) and Shannon Johanson (right).

Northampton Crown Court heard the incident took place at about 9.30pm on November 4 last year when the taxi driver was called to pick up customers in Leeson Crescent.

Prosecutor Julian Lynch said Stafford, 30, and Johanson, 31, refused to pay and demanded that he take them to their destination.

Front seat passenger Stafford then punched him and both he and Johanson, who was sitting at the back of the vehicle, threatened him.

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The victim was forced to begin a journey to Northampton, where the pair wanted to go.

Sentencing, Recorder Simon King told them: “It was your violence and threat of violence that forced him to begin a journey in a state of high fear and anxiety.”

The victim was able to make contact on the taxi radio with other workers and his ordeal, which lasted about 11 minutes, then came to an end.

Recorder King said: “The journey was brought to an end when two other taxis arrived and blocked the route of the car.”

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Stafford, of Leeson Crescent in Barton Seagrave, and Johanson, of Campbell Street in Northampton, both fled but were later arrested and remanded in custody.

They were both convicted of kidnap after a trial but found not guilty of charges of robbery and possessing a bladed article.

A third man, 31-year-old Farah Mohamed of Swale Drive in Northampton, was found not guilty of all three charges he faced.

The court heard that Stafford’s previous convictions include attempted robbery and causing grievious bodily harm, while Johanson’s record includes convictions for robbery and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

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Pree Brada, defending Stafford, said he has a lifelong learning disability as well as autism and sensory issues and had been previously let down by authorities.

She said: “They make him vulnerable when acting with others who do not have his best interests [at heart].”

Nathan Palmer, defending Johanson, said he has enhanced prisoner status and has obtained employment while in custody.

He said: “He knows that an immediate custodial term is high on the list of options.”

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Recorder King told the pair they had targeted someone who was working on their own late at night.

He said: “In reality here, and I do not think it will surprise you to hear this, in my opinion nothing other than a sentence of immediate custody can be justified.”

Stafford and Johanson will serve up to half of their 42-month prison sentence locked up before being released on licence.