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Camper van man with speech impediment charged with kidnap after misunderstanding with Middlesbrough prostitute, court told
3:51pm Thursday 21st March 2013 in News
A misunderstanding between a prostitute and a speech-impaired motorist led to an allegation of kidnapping, a court has heard.
Francis McCrory had said he wanted company, not sex, from the woman he picked up in his car in central Middlesbrough, Teesside Crown Court heard.
Instead, McCrory said he had wanted to take the prostitute to Redcar for a drink.
But she did not understand his intentions as his speech was affected by a stroke he suffered years ago, he maintained.
Prosecutor Shaun Dodds said McCrory's silver Mercedes pulled up alongside the woman on Union Street.
She said she approached the car and asked him if he wanted 'business', explaining that this meant sex, and got in.
She became uncomfortable and worried when, instead of parking up nearby, he drove about 10km to Redcar town centre.
The woman asked to be let out of the car but McCrory did not stop, and she contemplated jumping out.
She got out when the driver was forced to stop for another car near Morrisons.
The prostitute flagged down a police car, visibly upset, on the night of October 9 last year.
She gave the officers McCrory's registration number and he was arrested, living in a camper van behind a Middlesbrough pub.
He said he didn't know what 'business' was, wasn't interested in sexual services from the woman and never threatened her with violence.
McCrory, 53, was originally charged with kidnap but prosecutors accepted a guilty plea to false imprisonment.
He had no relevant convictions and been out of trouble for 14 years.
Prosecutors and a judge accepted his account of events.
Michael Bosomworth, defending, said: "It has been a chapter of misfortune for this man as a result of an unfortunate misunderstanding."
He said McCrory was a softly spoken man whose speech was difficult to understand.
"There may well have been confusion," he added.
He said it was an unusual case and sad situation for a man in poor health, and he had been greatly punished by time in custody on remand and a tagged curfew.
The Probation Service concluded he did not pose a risk of harm to the public.
The judge, Recorder Peter Makepeace, said this was not a case of a man deliberately imprisoning a woman for sexual acts, which would earn years in prison.
He said: "There was real and existing confusion between you and her as to what was happening, largely down to your speech impediment."
But he said: "When she protested, you should have allowed her to leave the vehicle immediately."
He said the accepted basis of McCrory's plea made a dramatic difference to sentence, and gave him an 18-month community order with supervision.
Any repetition would lead to a lengthy prison sentence, he said.
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