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6 October 2010, 09:58
Four teenage girls have been sentenced to a total of more than 20 years behind bars after they were found guilty of torturing another girl in part of our region.
They bound and gagged their 17 year old victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at two addresses in Bedford in February this year.
She was beaten and had her hair hacked off with scissors by the gang who threatened to cut her toes off.
Luton crown court heard on Tuesday the reason for the violence was that one of the gang believed the victim may have "set her up" the night before when she was robbed in the street.
In the dock Natasha Callum, 19, of Dents Road, Bedford; Georgina Blackwell, 19, of Chaucer Road, Bedford; Cerys Parkins, 19, of Queens Road Ampthill and Amy Harrison, 19, of Conduit Road, Bedford, all pleaded guilty to two offences of false imprisonment and two assault charges.
Callum also pleaded guilty to two unrelated offences of robbery and attempted robbery
Claudette Elliott prosecuting told how at around 11 am on February 6 this year the gang went to the flat in Bedford were the girl was living.
The prosecutor said they were "tooled up" with a knife, a metal bar and a pair of pliers. They banged on the door and shouted and when it was opened barged in led by Natasha Callum.
She seemed to think the girl knew something about the robbery incident the previous day.
Miss Elliot said that what followed was "premeditated, nasty and almost planned torture."
The victim knew all the defendants who first of all stuffed a white sock in her mouth to prevent her screaming.
Cable was used to bind her wrists, her ankles and thighs and she was repeatedly punched and kicked.
She was struck with the metal bar in the face. As the violence continued her nose was broken and she was threatened with scalding hot water.
Her pony tail was cut off by a pair of scissors and the girl heard one of the gang say "You want get anyone's man looking like this.”
The court heard that a man turned up at the flat but was unable to stop what was going on. He was to tell police later the girl have severe "facial injuries" and looked like she had been beaten black and blue.
He also said that while in the flat e heard one of the gang say she was going to rip the victim's toes off with the pliers
Eventually the girl was taken from the flat to another address in Coventry Road, Bedford.
She had to walk there but was surrounded by the gang preventing any chance of an escape.
At the new address she was again tied up and beaten and as the violence continued she passed out
Judge Barbara Mensah hearing the case was told that the defendant Blackwell had eventually become so upset by the violence that she left and went home to be sick.
As the afternoon wore on the gang took the girl to a nearby Costcutter shop on Bromham Road where they bought a drink for her.
By now police had been alerted by the man who had called at the first address and were looking for the gang and their victim.
As they left the shop, police spotted them and the girl's ordeal was over.
Miss Elliott said on May 22 last year Callum had robbed a vulnerable 21 year old man at Bedford bus station of his mobile phone, neck chain and some keys.
The prosecutor said the attempted robbery occurred some three months later in August 2009 when a 17 year old female student had been forced to run into the train station for safety to get away from Callum and two young boys who had been following her.
Passing sentence on the four Judge Mensah said their behaviour towards their victim had been "nasty and vicious"
She told the gang "She thought she was going to be killed by you four."
The judge said they had been out for revenge and the violence they inflicted on the youngster had been "gratuitous, humiliating and degrading."
The judge said all the defendants had previous convictions for violence.
She went on "You all come from difficult backgrounds but that doesn't stop you knowing what is right and what is wrong, when someone is in pain or distress."
Callum was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in a young offenders institute, Harrison and Parkins each received a five year sentence and Blackwell was given a sentence of four-and-a-half years.