Cambridge man jailed for kidnapping housemate at gunpoint

Don Weerakoon Image copyright Cambridgeshire Police
Image caption Don Weerakoon believed the victim and her partner stole money from him. This claim was unfounded, the court heard

A man who threatened his housemate with a fake handgun in a botched hostage attempt has been jailed.

Don Weerakoon, 30, wrongly suspected Isabel Fuentes Barriga and her partner of stealing "significant sums of money" from him.

He offered her a lift to work, but instead drove her to a car park where he forced her to swallow a tablet, Cambridge Crown Court heard.

Weerakoon, of Victoria Road, was jailed for 10 years.

Prosecutor Claire Matthews told the court Ms Barriga, who is in her 30s, got into Weerakoon's car at about 06:30 GMT on 18 February.

After being ordered to swallow the tablet, Ms Matthews said, she "had the presence of mind to wait for members of the public to pass by" before attempting escape.

Two-hour ordeal

Weerakoon tried to prevent this by driving off, but crashed and left her with leg injuries.

He ran away pointing the gun at a member of the public and was later arrested, the court was told.

Image copyright Cambridgeshire Police
Image caption Duct tape, blankets and sleeping and anti-histamine tablets were found in Weerakoon's BMW by officers, while the fake gun was tucked into his jacket pocket

Judge David Farrell QC, sentencing, said: "Your intention was either to threaten her to extract the money... or keep her hostage for a longer period, to achieve that objective".

He added the two-hour ordeal left the victim fearing "she would be raped or killed".

Image copyright Cambridgeshire Police
Image caption Judge David Farrell QC said the items were there "to assist" in the kidnap

In mitigation, Richard Mohabir said Weerakoon wanted to "apologise" and when, asked why he chose this course of action, he responded: "I do not know".

The defendant admitted kidnap, possessing an imitation firearm with intent and administering a drug to stupefy or overpower his victim.

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