Kevin Davies was kept in a shed for almost four months until his death
Three friends held an epileptic “hostage” in a garden shed for four months until he eventually died, a court heard yesterday.
Kevin Davies, 29, was repeatedly beaten, burnt and humiliated during his time in captivity in the Forest of Dean.
At one stage his tormentors made a hostage-style video of him. One of them also kept a diary in which she logged the punishments she meted out and made notes about his cries for help.
A judge at Bristol Crown Court heard that the three were initially charged with murder. However, the charge was dropped because experts were unable to rule out the possibility that Mr Davies’s illness had contributed to his death.
Guilty: Amanda Baggus, 26; David Lehane, 35; Scott Andrews, 27
David Lehane, 35, his girlfriend, Amanda Baggus, 26, and a friend, Scott Andrews, 27, pleaded guilty to charges of false imprisonment and assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Lehane and Baggus, from Gloucester, were each jailed for 10 years and Andrews, who lived nearby, for nine years.
The court heard that Mr Davies was locked inside the shed in Bream, Glos, on May 27 last year, apparently as a punishment for failing to pay a minor debt. He remained there – fed on scraps, routinely tortured and generally treated “like a dog” – until he died. Paramedics found his body in the kitchen, a few yards from the shed, on Sep 26.
Ian Pringle, acting for the prosecution, said Mr Davies suffered from severe epilepsy and was regarded by health officials as both “gullible” and “vulnerable”.
Baggus was left out of pocket when Mr Davies overturned a car. She decided to reclaim what she was owed by confining her victim in the shed and helping herself to his social security money. She and Lehane kept him bolted inside his makeshift prison. On numerous occasions they would take turns to beat him. When Andrews moved in with them he joined in the abuse.
One entry in Baggus’s diary, dated Aug 5, read: “He was playing up last nite [sic], banging in the shed. So later that nite [sic] both Scott and Dave hit Prick until quite late, cause Prick made a load of shouting.”
Later the trio made what Mr Pringle described as “an extraordinary video” in which they filmed their terrified captive. Lehane and Andrews can both be heard in the footage bullying Mr Davies into telling them he was being treated well.
The injuries he suffered were extensive. Mr Pringle said Mr Davies had suffered bruising to his arms, legs and jaw, as well as broken ribs and a fractured larynx. Burns, apparently caused by hot knives and by a corrosive liquid, covered 10 per cent of his body, and traces of his blood were found in the shed, kitchen, and lounge, and a pole found in the house.
Despite it being “highly unlikely” that he had died as a result of his epilepsy, the Crown was unable to rule it out. When arrested, each of the defendants blamed the others for leading the abuse. Mr Pringle told the court: “He had effectively been held captive at the home of the defendants for a period of nearly four months.
“He had been assaulted, he had been beaten, and he had effectively been kept like a dog in a locked garden shed at night. In short, the last few months of this man’s life must have been utterly miserable and inhumane.”
Outside the court, Mr Davies’ mother, Elizabeth James, said: “I just can’t believe that anybody could be so cruel. I just still can’t get my head around it. It just seems unreal.”