THREE men who tortured a man they kept prisoner in a Morecambe flat have each been jailed for four and a half years.
Preston Crown Court judge, Robert Altham, said Brent Cornthwaite, 22, of Pinfold Lane, Lancaster, and Jamie Gallagher, 21, and Daniel Goldsworthy, 34, both of Thornton Road, Morecambe, had used “brutal and pitiless violence” against Luke Mulgrew.
The court heard how the victim screamed in pain as he was injured on the ankle and a thumb with pliers. Turns were taken to run up and kick him to the head at Gallagher’s flat on Thornton Road.
Miss Rachel Woods, prosecuting, claimed the attack may have been motivated by revenge, possibly because Mr Mulgrew was due to give evidence against Cornthwaite in a court case the following morning. He was also said to have owed Cornthwaite drugs money.
The trio pleaded guilty to false imprisonment. Goldsworthy also admitted a charge of possessing cannabis, while Gallagher admitted a common assault upon a police officer.
Mr Mulgrew’s ordeal took place last January and lasted around two hours.
The court heard that he had earlier come across Goldsworthy and a spur-of-the-moment arrangement was made for him to go and have drinks at the flat.
After arriving he was called a grass and a snitch and was punched and kicked to the body and face.
He escaped onto the street, only to be dragged back inside by Cornthwaite.
At one stage Goldsworthy used pliers to cut Mr Mulgrew’s ankle. Gallagher used the pliers on his thumb and there was a threat to cut his thumb off.
Cornthwaite sat on him.
In a statement, Mr Mulgrew said: “I was screaming in pain. Dan said I needed to feel some pain.”
Blood smears were later found on the walls and bannister.
Mr James Heyworth, defending Cornthwaite, said the incident was out of character and that Cornthwaite denied the assault charge he had been facing.
Mr Simon Gurney, for Goldsworthy, said alcohol had led to him getting involved and that things had “spiralled out of control”.
“He has genuine remorse and shame,” said Mr Gurney.
Mr Fraser Livesey, for Gallagher, said the incident had not been planned. “No doubt they were egging each other on,” he said.
Mr Altham said Mr Mulgrew “could have been killed” and also made a 10-year restraining order barring any contact with him.
Gallagher and a fourth defendant, Ricky Clift, 19, formerly of Berwick Way, Heysham, but now living in Staffordshire, had both pleaded guilty to separate offences of assault with intent to resist arrest and criminal damage, which occurred last November.
Clift was given 18 months’ supervision and an order to do 120 hours unpaid work, while Gallagher was given another month in prison.
Det Cons Sue Palmer, of Lancaster CID, said: “Their sentences reflect the serious nature of their crime and should act as a deterrent to others who falsely believe that violence is the answer to a problem.”