West Norfolk kidnap and assault trial delayed by video fault at Norwich Crown Court

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Thousands of pounds was wasted when the trial for seven people accused of kidnapping and assaulting a couple was halted due to a technical fault.

The jury at Norwich Crown Court were sent home on Tuesday lunchtime after an engineer was unable to fix a problem with a video link until the following day.

The trial of the seven, who are accused of kidnapping, assaulting and blackmailing a couple they believed was responsible for the death of Walpole St Andrew grandmother, Gertrude Frankham, restarted on Wednesday.

The jury has heard that the couple, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were separately kidnapped, taken to an outbuilding and beaten over her death.

In sending home the jury on Tuesday, Recorder Stephen Holt said attempts had been made to solve the problem during the morning. He said: “The next stage is for an engineer to come out, because of the way these things are working, no engineer is present in this area.”

A statement from HM Courts and Tribunals Service said: “A hearing was adjourned due to technical issues with a witness videolink. The problem has now been resolved.”

On Wednesday, the man told the court he had been threatened to get into a car and that 20 people were waiting for it to arrive. He said he then felt a number of punches and kicks.

The seven on trial, who deny all the charges, include Vanessa Frankham, 48, of Wisbech Road, Walpole St Andrew, who is accused of kidnap, blackmail, false imprisonment and robbery. Violet Chilton, 57, of Dades Lane, Wisbech, is charged with blackmail, false imprisonment and wounding with intent.

Edward Dolan, 18, of Flower Farm Bungalow, Walpole, is charged with kidnap, false imprisonment and wounding with intent. The same allegations have been brought against Thomas Chilton, 29 and Jason Chilton, 27, of Dades Lane, Wisbech.

Diane Evans, 18, of Cherry Road, Wisbech, is charged with false imprisonment, while a 17-year-old youth is charged with kidnap, false imprisonment and wounding with intent.