Singer Estelle’s cousin from Barking in kidnap and blackmail trial
- Credit: Archant
The cousin of R&B singer Estelle is appearing in court this week charged with plotting to kidnap and blackmail a 58-year-old man.
Jude Lebaga, 33, of Chelmer Crescent, Barking, is one of three men accused of bundling the dad-of-five into the back of his car and driving off in September last year.
Bernard Morrisson, of Gibbfield Close, Romford, says he managed to escape when the car stopped 30 miles away outside a bank in Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex.
According to Mr Morrisson, he was jumped on just outside Kingsway Pharmacy in Barking Road, East Ham after having picked up medication for his heart problem.
In court today the jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court were played the 999 call Mr Morrisson made on September 25 last year from Westcliff-on-Sea after having outrun his alleged kidnappers.
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He told the 999 responder: “When I came out they were standing there and got into the back of my car. They grabbed me and said to me ‘you have something that belongs to us’. Then they punched me in the side of my face.
“They said they had got a problem with my sons. They said they were targeting me. They said my daughter was at risk and my ex-wife. I’m seriously concerned for their safety.”
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Of his escape, he added: “I just dropped out. I got out and I ran and they chased me.”
During the cross-examination, defence barrister Andrew Collins suggested Mr Morrisson was involved in a drugs deal with the three defendants.
Mr Collins said: “You were in an agreement that you were going to assist them to obtain hydroponics equipment. You were going to arrange to pick up the equipment.”
The jury heard how in November 2010 and in May 2011 police had found large quantities of cannabis at Mr Morrisson’s house and on the latter occasion £16,000 was recovered.
Mr Morrisson defended himself saying he had not known about the drugs stashed at his house.
He said: “I would never allow my sons to use my property and take advantage of me”.
Lebaga, Nathan James, of Elmley Street, Plumstead, and Joe Grant, of Thornhill Gardens, Leyton, all deny the charges.
The trial continues.