23-year-old Christopher Sellman who created an elaborate series of lies and also sent disturbing videos to obtain around £10,000 from two people, has been arrested and arraigned in court.
Sellman carried out the act with his ex-partner, 28-year-old Stephanie Gibb. He sent pictures of a razor blade to his throat, a crossbow to his temple, and videos of him being forced under water.
His friends were asked in series of chilling messages to pay a ransom to the “kidnapper” in exchange for his safety in February of this year. Canterbury Crown Court heard that after his friends paid the money, they received more messages demanding money to ensure that he stayed safe.
Sellman’s concerned friends who received a terrifying picture of him with a gun in his mouth, paid another £1,000 as the “kidnapper” demanded for more cash.
The incident was reported to the police after the suspect’s friends insisted that they no longer have money to pay as ransom following a message they received on March 15. It was gathered that the “kidnapper” threatened them with violence, adding that he knew where they lived.
The victims who changed their phone numbers after contacting Kent Police, began to get messages via email and social media platforms. Detectives identified similar typos and grammar errors between messages sent by Sellman and those of the kidnappers.
Sellman was subsequently arrested on suspicion of blackmail on March 24. Weapons matching those seen in the photos, as well as mobile phones containing the threatening messages were recovered from his house.
Commenting on the case, Police Constable Edward Pegg said;
“Sellman showed an appalling abuse of trust for those who care about him, faking his own kidnap and torture for money to spend on sports clothing and takeaways.
“The victims were terrified of the consequences if they didn’t pay, their only concern being to protect Sellman.
“My thoughts are with the victims, and I hope they are able to look forward and take the time they need to recover from this incident.”
The 23-year-old man was charged with blackmail and sentenced today to two years and four months in prison. His ex-girlfriend Stephanie Gibb, 28, was also charged with blackmail and was handed a 18-month prison sentence suspended for 18 months.