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Swanley and Bromley men cleared of £10k Mercedes blackmail plot on Whitstable family

A duo have been cleared of holding a Whitstable family’s Mercedes hostage for thousands of pounds of ransom money.

But one of the pair has been convicted of “the worst driving criminal record" after leading officers on a third high speed chase.

Hay was found guilty of dangerous driving in the Mercedes-Benz. Stock picture: Handout/PA
Hay was found guilty of dangerous driving in the Mercedes-Benz. Stock picture: Handout/PA

Uncle and nephew Wayne Farrell, 41 and Michael Hay, 28, stood accused of coercing Kelvin Napungwana into handing over the car and demanding £10,000 for its return.

Son and father Kelvin and Noble Napungwana, told jurors both men allegedly ordered the cash to be paid to an unknown third party.

But Farrell and Hay denied foul play, arguing the car was handed over on April 18 as part of a down payment for bad debt.

Farrell, of Lullingstone Avenue in Swanley and Hay of Ringers Road in Bromley looked visibly relieved after being unanimously acquitted.

Joyrider Hay will be sentenced next week after admitting he used the car to lead police on a high speed pursuit through London on April 24 last year.

Judge James O'Mahony. Stock picture
Judge James O'Mahony. Stock picture

He pleaded guilty to dangerous driving, driving without a licence and insurance at a previous hearing.

The court heard it is the fourth time Hay, who has 26 convictions for 126 offences, was convicted for dangerous driving.

Judge James O’Mahony told him: “This is the worst driving criminal record I have ever heard.

“You could easily have killed yourself, killed other road users and endangered the lives of police officers who were doing their duty.”

Prosecutor Simon Blackford explained Hay reached speeds of up to 90 miles an hour, breaking multiple red lights, driving on the wrong side of the road and over roundabouts.

The pair were cleared of blackmail at Canterbury Crown Court
The pair were cleared of blackmail at Canterbury Crown Court

An armed response unit brought the car to a standstill in the Abbey Wood area, where Hay was arrested.

Tom Flavin, mitigating, revealed people were forced to take evasive action during two previous chases that lasted up to 30 minutes.

He said although Hay’s criminal history is “un-envious at best”, the latest police chase was the shortest.

Hay, a serving prisoner, will be sentenced on Wednesday.

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