A screaming child had been kidnapped at knifepoint from a foster mum and driven 200 miles in a car which was stopped by police before the victim could be taken abroad.
Caernarfon crown court heard it followed false claims that the youngster had been sexually abused.
Ignorant online trolls portrayed, wrongly, the child’s loving dad as a “satanist” and paedophile.
One of the kidnap gang was a so-called “expert” on satanic ritual abuse, a Parliamentary lobbyist who posted videos on YouTube.
Wilfred Wong, aged 56, of Camden, London, who grew up in Singapore but had lived in London for 35 years, denied having anything to do with the bizarre and sinister knifepoint snatch of the youngster in Anglesey last November.
But he was jailed for 17 years after a jury didn’t believe his account and convicted him of conspiracy to kidnap with several other accused including a vet and abuse counsellor.
Defence barrister Nicholas Williams said his client now accepted involvement in what Wong had believed to be a “rescue mission” to prevent harm. “Mr Wong genuinely believed what he was being told,” counsel remarked. “His motives were good, albeit misguided.” He had “learned his lesson,” the lawyer said. Wong had a website called the “Coalition Against Satanist Ritual Abuse” (SRA)and has diehard supporters.
Judge Nicola Jones said a YouTube video encouraged abductions.
Prosecuting counsel Anna Pope said Wong held a knife to the foster parent’s neck during the snatch. The frightened child was rescued hours later when police stopped a car on the M1 in Northants.
Wong and a vet Anke Hill, aged 51, of Llanddeusant, Holyhead, were passengers in the car. Hill admitted the kidnap allegation and was jailed for 14 years and five months. The judge said she had “entrenched views.”
Getaway driver Edward Stevenson, aged 69, was jailed for eight years. His wife and fellow passenger Janet Stevenson, 67, a grandmother and counsellor – the couple both of Crawley – was jailed for 15 years. The judge said she remained a danger.
Judge Jones told the defendants: “Your actions have caused unspeakable misery and considerable harm.”
Jane Going-Hill, aged 60, of Pump Street, Holyhead, who assisted the police and pleaded guilty, was jailed for four years and eight months for her role.
Kristine Ellis-Petley, aged 58, of Ffordd Tudur, Holyhead, a gran who ran a charity shop, was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment after also pleading guilty. She’d been a lookout.
Defence barrister Elen Owen said there had been “grooming” of her involving the showing of harrowing drawings of sexual abuse. She had nightmares.
Judge Jones said there was “meticulous and sophisticated” planning.
She added: “All six of you acted as vigilantes, taking the law into your own hands.”
North Wales Police said after the case: “This was a complex and carefully orchestrated conspiracy, perpetrated with chilling ruthlessness.
“This was a harrowing ordeal for both the child and foster carer. The impact of this incident cannot be understated, and we would like to acknowledge their strength and courage throughout this investigation.”