Saturday, January 11, 2014

Lapdancers deny kidnapping club boss

Three lapdancers and their manager kidnapped a club boss after he failed to pay them £42,000, a court has heard. The women, who were working during the National Hunt Festival in Cheltenham, are accused of kidnapping Curtis Woodman on 3 September 2012. Mr Woodman employed them at a club he rented, Bristol Crown Court heard. Mandy Cool, Rachel Goodchild, Stephanie Pye, along with manager Charlotte Devaney and two men accused of acting as their "heavies", deny the charges.

Mr Woodman used the Embassy Club in Cheltenham to provide "entertainment" for race-goers during the March festival. Ms Devaney, 34, from London, arranged for a number of women to work there as hostesses and dancers. The club failed to secure a lapdancing licence and the women signed contracts agreeing they would wear "bikinis and nipple tassels at all times". But when the club opened, some of the women "insisted on taking their clothes off" and it was shut down by officials, the jury heard. Prosecuting, Martin Steen said the women were expecting to have their share of a £42,000 payment, which was made by credit card from one customer.

But Mr Woodman felt the women had broken their contracts and were not entitled to keep the money. Ms Devaney chased Mr Woodman for the "debt" before visiting a police station on 3 September, where she was advised to take civil action. But later that day, Ms Devaney, along with dancers Ms Cool, 29, Ms Pye, 31 and Ms Goodchild, 24, met Alexander and Robert Morris and headed to Mr Woodman's work in Tewkesbury. They allegedly forced Mr Woodman into Miss Davey's BMW One Series car, with the brothers sitting either side of him.

Alexander Morris had a knife and Mr Woodman was forced to hand over his Breitling watch, worth £4,800, the jury was told. He was then allegedly hit twice in the face and had his phone confiscated. Mr Woodman was persuaded to ring his bank and arrange for £4,800 to be transferred into Ms Devaney's account, Mr Steen said. During the ordeal Mr Woodman managed to contact a business partner who phoned the police. Mr Woodman said the women had signed contracts agreeing to forfeit their commissions if they did not keep to the rules, including wearing clothes. He said they were not entitled to the money because they breached the contract. The trial continues.

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