‘Gang’s chilling threat to castrate bar manager’

Crown Court Darren Squire
Crown Court Darren Squire
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A gang of South Yorkshire thugs threatened a bar manager with castration in a row over payment for work, a court heard.

Leigh Moan said he was in fear for his safety after receiving terrifying calls from the gang, who are accused of terrorising his employers and other business people for cash.

Terence Cunningham senior, aged 48, of Sutton Road, Askern, Doncaster, and his pals toured the country claiming to be Celebrity Big Brother winner Paddy Doherty and making chilling threats to the owners of small companies, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Mr Moan told the court he was working as a relief manager at the Briar Dene pub, Whitley Bay, Tyne & Wear, in November 2011, when he was contacted by a man demanding money for work carried out on the pub car park, which had not been cleared by brewery bosses.

The caller claimed to know lots of people in Newcastle – and said Mr Moan would be castrated if he did not pay £18,000.

Mr Moan said: “I felt very scared. I was very worried about physical harm coming to myself.

“I have never been spoken to in such a manner of graphic intimate violence. 
“It’s quite an emotional thing to remember.

“I did believe the threats would be carried out.”

Mr Moan said he first became aware of the alleged gang members when work was carried out on the Tarmac outside the pub.

He said he assumed it had been sanctioned by his bosses at the Sir John Fitzgerald chain, and thought they were council staff.

Mr Moan said he received a call from a man claiming to be Mr Doherty and explained he was not in a position to pay him.

Mr Moan said: “I tried to reason with him, stating I had no control over the finances. I didn’t have any money on site.”

Mr Moan said he became more concerned as he received more and more calls.

He said: “I actually changed my route driving into work to drive past a police station.

“When opening the pub on my own I felt very very vulnerable. I felt scared all the time.

“In work, out of work, I was very scared for all my staff and my customers.”

The court heard the gang also targeted the premises of clothing wholesaler Roland Burgess in Newcastle.

It is claimed owner William Burgess agreed for potholes to be filled in at a cost of £80, but later changed his mind.

The court heard that while he was on holiday the men returned to the premises and started laying the Tarmac.

Chilling calls were then allegedly made to Mr Burgess by a man claiming to be Mr Doherty who demanded £16,000.

Terence Cunningham junior, 26, and 34-year-old Triston Saltmarsh, both of Sutton Road, and 43-year-olds Darren Squire, of Manor Road and Jason Hazell, of Spa Terrace, both in Askern, all deny conspiracy to blackmail.

Michael Howley, aged 72, of Scunthorpe, denies money laundering.

Cunningham senior and William Adams, 46, also of Sutton Road, have admitted conspiracy to blackmail.

The trial continues.