News

Couple denies kidnapping pregnant woman over stolen DJ mixer

BY TANESHA MUNDLE
Observer staff reporter
mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, September 21, 2018

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A couple who allegedly kidnapped a pregnant woman over a stolen DJ mixer, holding her hostage for two days after demanding money from her sister, was on Tuesday offered bail when they reappeared in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court.

Disc jockey Akeem Campbell and Natice Grey, a shop and bar operator, were each offered $300,000 bail by Parish Judge Maxine Ellis on charges of kidnapping, extortion and conspiracy.

They were offered bail on condition that they report to personnel at the Hunts Bay Police Station on Mondays and Wednesdays.

The two were arrested following allegations that they demanded $48,000 from the pregnant woman's sister, in exchange for her release, after items went missing from their shop. The pregnant woman's sister reportedly travelled from Westmoreland to meet with the accused in Half-Way-Tree, St Andrew, in order to hand over the cash.

However, a sting operation was set up and Grey was arrested. Her boyfriend reportedly escaped but was later held.

During their part -heard bail application last week, defence attorney Sashana Dennis told the court that her clients did not demand any money from the woman's sister. In fact, the attorney said that the sister was the one who offered to pay them the money after they told her that the DJ mixer had been stolen, allegedly by the pregnant woman's boyfriend.

Dennis also told the court then, that Grey and Campbell decided to house the pregnant woman and her boyfriend after she found out that they were homeless and that the woman, who is five months pregnant, had to be selling her body. According to the attorney, the two later stole from Grey and she contacted the woman's sister who offered to pay them for the item.

The bail application was postponed for the police to get more information.

On Tuesday, when the application resumed, a police officer from Hunts Bay told the court that Grey had told him that someone had broken into her shop and stolen some items. He said he told her to report the incident at the Hunts Bay Police Station. He also said that she later called him and told him that she had found out who had stolen the items, and that she was going to be reimbursed. She said, too, that she was going to meet the person who would pay her for the stolen items but that she was afraid.

The police officer said he told her that he would be in Half-Way-Tree and would accompany her, but that when he got to the location he realised that something was amiss.

The officer, however, told the court that he was not aware that she had kidnapped anyone in exchange for the money, or that her boyfriend and the alleged hostage were also in Half-Way-Tree.

Dennis, for her part, insisted that there was no kidnapping and that her client had not demanded any ransom.

Judge Ellis, in the end, pointed out that the issues were triable and that it was for a court to determine if the pregnant woman was held hostage in exchange for money for the stolen mixer.

The matter was then set for mention on October 26.

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