A thug wearing an electronic tag kidnapped a pregnant woman and her boyfriend, throttled her until she passed out and punched her in the stomach in a row over a £40,000 cannabis theft, a court heard today.
Emmanuel Okubote is accused of taking six-and-a-half months pregnant Colette Brown and her boyfriend Tabare Garcia hostage after his cannabis factory in Thamesmead, south east London was burgled.
The Old Bailey was told Okubote and his accomplice, Shane De Silva, had accused Mr Garcia of involvement in the theft, ordering the couple into cars before subjecting them to the terrifying ordeal.
The jury was told told Okubote had grabbed Miss Brown around her neck and choked her until she passed out after telling her she was going to die.
Okubote, 22, also allegedly held a gun to the neck of Mr Garcia and burned him with a lighter while demanding he hand over £40,000, claiming the father-to-be had stolen from him.
Okubote, known by the street name ‘Sylar’, eventually released Miss Brown before going home at 9pm to comply with the conditions of his electronic tag (another sterling government suggestion), while his associates kept Mr Garcia prisoner, the jury heard.
He then returned to issue more threats to Mr Garcia the following morning, refusing to release him until he was given the money, it is claimed.
The hostage was released a few hours later when an armed police officer found him being held prisoner in a car by Okubote’s accomplice Shane De Silva, jurors were told.
De Silva has admitted his involvement in the kidnapping, while Okubote denies the charges and is now standing trial.
John Causer, prosecuting, told the court that the dispute centred around a flat in Thamesmead.
Miss Brown, whose baby has since been born, had moved out of the property in late 2013 after falling pregnant, and De Silva had offered to redecorate it for free.
But over the next three months it was turned into a ‘hydroponics factory’ growing cannabis using specialised equipment, it is claimed.
On 15 March police were called to the council flat after a neighbour spotted a ladder leaning next to a window, but it had already been cleaned out.
That evening, Okubote contacted De Silva and arrangements were made to meet Miss Brown in Sydenham, the court heard.
Mr Causer said: ‘It had become known the cannabis was taken and efforts were made to find out why.’
Okubote allegedly ordered Miss Brown into his silver VW Golf and drove her to a property in Catford, before demanding she hand over her phone.
De Silva then called Mr Garcia and told him that ‘stuff had gone missing’, before picking him up from his mother’s house.
Mr Causer told jurors: ‘You will have to assess how much Mr Garcia did or didn’t know about what was going on. He says he knew what was being talked about but himself had nothing to do with it.’
The prosecutor said that De Silva, who was armed with a gun, punched Mr Garcia several times and demanded: ‘Where’s the weed and the money?’