Five sentenced for parts in travellers' feud

First published in News

FIVE people have been sentenced for their parts in a feud between travelling families which ended with two young children being kidnapped.

A court heard a boy aged four and his two-year-old sister had disappeared with their mother when she split up with her partner two months earlier.

Kerry Anne Mitchell was living with her children in Littleport, Cambridgeshire, when they were snatched by her former partner Albert Buckley Junior – known as Quincy.

He was in a car with Kerry Anne’s boyfriend Tom Johnson and other Buckley relatives when the incident took place at around 12.30am on 26 March last year.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard Kerry Anne, 20, called her mother in Maldon and police stopped the Vauxhall Astra later, near junction 9 on the M11.

That same night Quincy’s brother Shane Buckley, 23, forrmerly of Rayne Road, Felsted, and now of Woodham Road, Stow Maries, allegedly armed himself with an axe and went to Kerry Anne’s aunt’s house in Cold Norton.

He demanded Kerry Anne’s uncle, Anthony Loveridge, come outside to sort things out but went away when he was ignored.

At 6am he and other Buckleys descended on aunt Susan Barton’s house in Clark’s Rise, Cold Norton and Shane Buckley kicked open the front door and property inside was damaged by various individuals, the court heard.

Shane Buckley denied he had turned up with an axe, but giving evidence Susan Barton, 34, said she talked to him from her bedroom window and saw what he was holding.

She said: “He was swinging what I later realised was an axe. I could see the sparks flying as it hit the concrete path.”

She agreed a feud had developed between the families over custody of the two children and because the Buckleys thought Kerry Anne’s family knew where she was hiding.

The trial on kidnap and perverting justice for all ten people involved was expected to last four weeks but at the start of the case, Albert Buckley junior, 25, of Woodham Road, Chelmsford, and Tom Johnson, 19, of Cranham Hall caravan site, Little Waltham, Chelmsford, both changed their pleas to guilty to kidnap.

Buckley junior and Johnson were both jailed for nine months. Johnson received another two months consecutive for breaking a community order.

Quincy’s sister Linda Buckley, 33, of Rayne Road, Felsted, his cousin Mark Lee, 22, of Cranham Hall caravan site, Little Waltham, Chelmsford, and a 15-year-old pleaded not guilty. The adults indicated they would accept a restraining order.

The prosecution offered no evidence against all three and, on the judge’s direction, the jury returned not guilty verdicts.

The parents of Albert Buckley junior, Albert Buckley senior, 60, and Anne Loveridge, 54, both of Rockhampton Walk, Colchester, and his brothers Shane and David, 33, of Longbanks, Harlow, and sister Sylvia Buckley, 36, of Rockhampton Walk, had denied perverting the course of justice by threatening to use violence against Kerry Anne Mitchell and members of her family.

The charge had alleged violence would be used unless she withdraw her evidence against those arrested for the kidnap.

The prosecution offered an alternative charge of affray, threatening violence towards Susan Barton and Roseanne Barton junior, 42.

Shane Buckley pleaded guilty, David and Sylvia Buckley pleaded not guilty but admitted a lesser offence of threatening behaviour.

Shane Buckley was jailed for eight months suspended for two years and given a 200 hour unpaid work order plus £500 costs.

David Buckley was jailed for three months but has been on a qualifying tagged curfew so will not be jailed and told to pay £500 costs.

Sylvia Buckley got a two-year community order, a 100-hour unpaid work order, 12 months supervision plus £500 costs.

The prosecution dropped its case against all five on perverting justice and all were formally acquitted by the jury.

Judge Charles Gratwicke made a restraining order for the next five years against Linda Buckley, Anne Loveridge, Albert Buckley senior and Mark Lee not to contact Kerry Anne Mitchell, her mother, grandmother Roseanne Barton senior, 61, of St Peter’s Avenue, Maldon or aunt except for contact arrangements through the family court in relation to the two children.

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