A woman was kidnapped at the point of a screwdriver and forced to drive her attacker away in her car.
The victim was on the phone to her daughter at the time of the carjacking, and the daughter was forced to listen to her mum’s terrifying ordeal.
The attacker had only been out of prison on licence for a matter of months where he is serving an indeterminate sentence for public protection for a series of armed offences.
Swansea Crown Court heard the victim – the mother of a serving police officer – has been left traumatised by the kidnapping, and is frightened of going out on her own.
The court heard that on the morning of February 12, 2019, the victim drove to a friend’s house in Frederick Place in Llansamlet to deliver a birthday card. Shortly before 7.30am she dropped off the card and, chatting to her daughter on her mobile, got back into her car.
As she did so Craig Sampson – his face partially obscured by a scarf and hat – jumped into the passenger seat beside her. The 40-year-old defendant held a screwdriver to the terrified woman’s face and neck, and ordered her to drive away telling her he was in trouble and needed to leave the area.
The court heard they drove onto Peniel Green Road and over the M4 roundabout heading for Skewen, with Sampson becoming increasingly agitated and telling his victim that he knew where she lived and warning her against trying to signal for help by flashing the headlights. As they approached the Bowen Arms pub Sampson told the woman to stop the car and he fled on foot but not before warning her again that he knew where she lived.
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The whole incident, which lasted around three minutes, was overheard by the woman’s daughter who was still on the line. The court heard the daughter, who was in an extremely distressed state, rang her brother – a policeman – to tell him what had happened.
A major manhunt was launched, and the defendant was subsequently identified and tracked down.
In an impact statement from the victim which was read to the court, she said she had genuinely feared she was going to die at the hands of her attacker. She said had been left feeling nervous about going out alone, and was no longer able to go jogging or even take her dog for a walk. She said she was jumpy whenever anyone rang the door bell, and was on a waiting list to receive counselling.
Craig Sidney Sampson, now of no fixed abode, had previously been convicted of kidnap at trial when he appeared in the dock for sentence. At his trial he chose not to give evidence in his own defence.
The defendant has 23 previous convictions for 123 offences including for assault occasioning actual bodily harm, arson, aggravated vehicle taking, armed robberies, inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, and possession of a firearm. These last offences relate to an incident in Loughor when he was part of a gang which forced its way into a house, held a family captive, and stabbed and then shot the victim with a shotgun.
At the time of the Llansamlet kidnapping he had only been out of prison on licence from an indeterminate sentence for public protection for five months. He was recalled to prison on this sentence following his arrest for kidnap – the second time he has been released and then recalled.
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Ann Tayo, for Sampson, said the defendant had grown up in an abusive household with a largely absent father, and by the age of 14 was already committing offences. She said the defendant had spent around two-thirds of his life in prison and was “institutionalised” but during his last period of liberty had engaged with probation.
The barrister said that on the day in question the defendant reported feeling the presence of spirits and suddenly experienced an “overwhelming sense of fear” and the need to get away from the area. She added that he was remorseful for what he had done.
Judge Huw Rees told Sampson he had subjected his victim to a terrifying and traumatic ordeal, and while she had not suffered any physical injury the emotional and psychological impact was clearly “marked and enduring”. He said it was hard to think of a more frightening scenario.
The judge said in his view the defendant could properly be classed as a dangerous offender under the meaning of the legislation, and as such an extended sentence was necessary to protect the public.
Sampson was made the subject of a 13-year extended sentence comprising eight years in prison, followed by an extended five-year licence period. He must serve two-thirds of the custodial element of the sentence before he can apply for release but it will be for the Parole Board to decide to release him.