Brits in bogus kidnap bust

By Alex Trelinski

A British couple are in custody over a fake kidnap plot after the Guardia Civil stormed a villa on the El Raso Urbanisation in Guardamar del Segura. The pair were arrested after photos of a woman allegedly tied to a bed and covered in bruises were sent to her parents in the UK area. The images were accompanied by a demand for five thousand pounds, but after last week’s raid, details of which were released on Monday, the alleged ‘victim’ and her partner were arrested. UK National Crime Agency (NCA) officers were involved in the investigation, codenamed ‘Operation Saxony’, which was being treated as a real kidnap.

A spokesman for the Guardia Civil said: “The parents of the woman who was pretending to have been kidnapped … told police there they had received a series of emails and text messages from their daughter’s supposed kidnapper.”

It is alleged the couple behind the fake photos had been in a dispute over their young daughter, who is in the care of her maternal grandparents in Manchester. The woman’s parents have custody of their granddaughter because of the child’s father’s history of violent criminal activity, according to the NCA. Some of the messages included photos which seemed to be of the wife tied up in a bedroom with multiple bruising to her face – but this turned out to have been staged, and the bruises were painted on with make-up.

The Guardia spokesman added: “The messages were violent towards the alleged hostage victim and the sender threatened to kill her unless their daughter was freed and returned to him and a ransom demand of £5,000 paid. The plan was so well-prepared that the family even received photographs of their daughter with bruises on her body which appeared to show she had been physically harmed. The photos showed her held in a room on a bed and the messages that went with them made her family fear for her life and suffer extreme worry.”

British police worked out that the couple might be in El Raso and contacted the Guardia Civil, who then monitored the property before for several hours and saw no movement or anything suspicious happening within the villa. They then forced their way in and “arrested” the kidnapper and freed the “victim”. Later inquiries, together with the couple’s contradicting statements, led the Guardia to conclude that the kidnap had been a carefully-planned set-up. The couple were brought before a Torrevieja judge and no names as yet have been released as The Courier went to press.

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