Telford torture gang jailed for 'sadistic' violence

image source, West Mercia Police
image captionDaniel Doyle carved 'paedo' in the victim's leg. Stephanie Titley and Dean Butler were also jailed

A "pitiless" gang of would-be vigilantes who tortured a vulnerable man in the mistaken belief he was a paedophile has been jailed.

The victim, who cannot be named, was left with a broken jaw and ribs, missing teeth, cigarette burns and had "paedo" carved into his leg.

He endured the week-long campaign of "sadistic violence" at the hands of seven people at a house in Telford.

Each of them admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

The group of five men, one woman and a 17-year-old boy, were sentenced at Stafford Crown Court.

Ringleader Stephanie Titley, 26, befriended the 21-year-old and offered him a place to stay, the Honourable Mr Justice Dove said.

'No pity'

She imprisoned the victim against his will, while she and other defendants acted on what police said was a "malicious lie" that the victim was a child abuser.

Their "appalling" campaign of abuse included pulling out his teeth, burning him with hair straighteners and assaulting him with a broom, the judge said.

The victim was found in a room with blood on the walls, carpet and mattress, at an address in the Woodside area of Telford on 1 September last year. He had been kept there "in excess of seven days".

image source, West Mercia Police
image captionNathan Bates and Gavin Smith both received 10 years in prison

At no point was pity shown towards him and the defendants repeatedly returned to torture him, the court heard.

Some of the group made "boastful disclosures" to friends afterwards about what they had done.

The victim suffered "long lasting mental and physical harm" as a result.

Supt Tom Harding, from West Mercia Police, said:"I was pleased that that the judge had identified that the basis for this attack over a number of days was a heinous and vicious lie and that that lie had been used to try to justify the actions of the defendants which were quite simply despicable.

"This was one of the most despicable cases that certainly have I have been involved in or that my team have investigated."

The defendants and sentences:

  • Stephanie Titley, 26, from Willowfield, Telford - 13 years and four months. She received a concurrent sentence of five years after also admitting false imprisonment
  • Dean Butler, 23, of no fixed address - 13 years and four months
  • Gavin Smith, 19, from Southgate, Telford - 10 years
  • Luke Mansell, 23, also from Southgate, Telford - 16 years
  • Daniel Doyle, 24, from Smallwood, Telford - 12 years
  • Nathan Bates, 19, of Villa Court, Telford - 10 years
  • 17-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons - four years

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