Romanian and Spaniard jailed after British couple snatched at holiday home
EXCLUSIVE BY JON CLARKE IN ALICANTE
TWO violent thugs have been jailed for eight years each for the kidnap of a British couple in Spain.
The pair, a Romanian and a Spaniard, were caged for the terrifying 48-hour ordeal that left Pat and Peter Yarwood (pictured) fearing for their lives.
The group had burst into their living room in April 2004 as they played gin rummy at their 400,000 euro holiday home on the Costa Blanca.
Brandishing pistols, they bundled Mr and Mrs Yarwood onto a sofa and said they would be killed unless they handed over 600,000 euros.
The gunmen, it transpired, had followed the couple to their home in Moraira after spotting them driving around in their Jaguar XJ8.
“I saw this shadow in the hall and suddenly these three men burst in,” 74-year-old Mrs Yarwood told the Olive Press.
“They told us in pidgin English to give us the money and said they knew we had money because they had seen us in our car earlier in the day.
“My husband went downstairs to the safe, which had 1,100 euros and £300 in cash. But they said it was nowhere near enough.
“They terrorised us all night, constantly pointing the guns at us and cocking them.
“When my husband tried to escape out of the back door they punched him in the face and kicked him repeatedly. I was convinced we were going to die.”
At dawn, the couple’s ordeal worsened when the gang leader hatched a plan to take Mr Yarwood, 72, to the couple’s bank and withdraw all the money in their account.
Mrs Yarwood, however, was bundled into a van and driven for an hour to a derelict farmhouse in the area of Cabo de la Nao.
She continued: “They threw me to the floor after tying my legs together and when I tried to escape one of them went mad, punching me in the back and kicking me in the ribs.
“After that, they tied my arms behind my back so tight it was agony.”
Her husband, meanwhile, was ordered to drive at gunpoint to his Barclays Bank where he told his attacker he would cash £500 of travellers’ cheques and try to get 20,000 euros in cash from his account and credit cards.
Mr Yarwood said: “I was praying the bank would try and help and I wrote a note on the back of a cheque saying ‘Please give me the money, because someone has kidnapped my wife!'”
The bank manager immediately called the Guardia Civil who sent plain-clothes detectives to the scene.
Within a couple of hours, a specially-trained kidnap response unit had also arrived from Madrid.
They kept the bank under surveillance and a helicopter was scrambled. The bank stalled for time with the excuse that they were waiting for a delivery of cash.
But by Friday afternoon, the gang leader was getting increasingly threatening.
“He kept saying that if he didn’t see the money by the following day I would never see Pat again,” said Mr Yarwood, a former electrician.
The bank was closed on Saturday and Mr Yarwood was convinced his wife would suffer the worst. In fact, she had other plans.
The gang – who it is understood has been involved in other kidnappings – had become aware of the police surveillance and fled. In agony from her injuries, Mrs Yarwood managed to loosen her bindings.
She then spent a night in the open before stumbling on to a track to a main road where she was rescued and reunited with her husband. “We were overjoyed,” he said.
The couple, who live in Cheshire, were able to identify one of the kidnappers from police photographs.
Eventually police managed to track down the leader, whose initials were given as VVV and he was arrested.
His main accomplice DHM and a third member of the gang – a Romanian woman – were also found guilty at Alicante Provincial court last week.