A MAN was stripped almost naked and held against his will for more than five hours as chilling stab threats and menacing demands for money were made by a Whitehaven couple.

Carlisle Crown Court heard the victim spent the weekend of September 30 last year in the company of Bradley Clayton, 24, and 22-year-old Chloe Sinton.

There were no problems but that changed on October 2 after the man woke, decided to get something to eat and returned to the property.

Inside, Clayton began accusing the man of taking items.

“This then escalated to Mr Clayton punching him twice to the left eye before then jumping on to him, which caused them both to fall to the ground,” said prosecutor Megan Cox.

“While on the ground, Miss Sinton began to stamp on his face and there were threats, shouting and aggression displayed by both defendants. Mr Clayton threatened (the man) with a knife, saying that he would stab him.”

Clayton and Sinton demanded £2,500 and accused the man of taking a tattoo gun from their flat, along with cocaine.

They made the man take his clothes off, stripping him down to his underwear.

“Ms Sinton took photographs of (the man) and shared them on Snapchat, with captions such as, ‘hahaha, rob us this is what happens’; and placed another caption saying ‘£10 to do what you want to him’,” said the prosecutor.

The victim was told to call his father amid the blackmail. Miss Cox said: “In the background of that call, the following can be heard: ‘I've got your son. He's been a silly boy. He's naked. He owes me £2,500’.”

The man’s father called his partner, who told him to contact police.

Sinton posted other Snapchat messages, one of which read: “Brad’s just butchered him and made him strip.” There was also reference to demands for payment to the man’s relatives.

Clayton and Sinton let the man go after learning police had been called. But Sinton added a further Snapchat message saying: “Robbed us… but his fam rang feds so we let him go.”

Clayton and Sinton, both of George Street, Whitehaven, admitted false imprisonment and blackmail. Clayton had a previous conviction for armed robbery as a juvenile following a post office raid featuring a weapon.

Sean Harkin, for Clayton, said in mitigation: “Fortunately there is no physical injury (to the man). I accept from the victim personal statement there would be some psychological traumas to him.”

Mr Harkin added: “As soon as there is any suggestion the police are going to be called there isn’t any plan B from these defendants and (the man) is released immediately.”

Kim Whittlestone, for Sinton, spoke of exposure to chronic trauma in her past, and suggested she was a vulnerable adult subject to the influence of others.

Clayton was given a four-year prison sentence and Sinton received a three-year jail term.

“He must have been terrified,” said Recorder Paul Hodgkinson of imprisoned victim.

Concluding the man was “effectively being tortured” the judge said the online messages were “inviting observations as to what should be done with the helpless victim that was in both of your hands”.

Recorder Hodgkinson told Clayton and Sinton: “The violence used by you was punches and stamps and you subjected him to extreme humiliation by posting the details on social media.”