'Ruthless' Barnsley loan shark who kidnapped and assaulted victims jailed

  • CCTV footage showed Dawson forcing the man into the boot of his car

A loan shark from Barnsley who repeatedly kidnapped and attacked a man to extort money has been jailed.

Richard Dawson terrorised the man and his vulnerable mother after they became "trapped in a cycle of debt", a court heard.

He forced the man into the boot of his car on several occasions - including incidents captured on CCTV - before driving him to cash machines to withdraw money. On one occasion he fractured his jaw.

The mother and her son eventually reported Dawson to South Yorkshire police.

Sheffield Crown Court heard how Dawson, 35, became involved with the pair after the woman - an alcoholic with mental health issues - asked to borrow £5 for cider.

Her son would also use Dawson's illegal services.

Simon Mortimer, prosecuting, told the court he would hand over all his benefits. Dawson would use his bank card to get money.

On one occasion, in May 2022, the man did not have enough funds to repay Dawson who then assaulted him, fracturing his jaw.

Part of the man's jaw "came away", Mr Mortimer said. He ended up "pulling it through his cheek."

Richard Dawson used violence to intimidate borrowers Credit: MEN Media

Social services then intervened and relocated the pair, but Dawson found them after using violence to "interrogate" the man. He then went to their new house and attacked them both.

The court heard following his arrest, a number of items were seized from Dawson's home, including his mobile phone.

His and his wife's bank accounts showed evidence of money lending.

The court heard that there were at least 88 different customers or people who were being "terrorised" by Dawson. Repayments came to a total of £52,000.

Dawson was on licence for robbery at the time. Mr Mortimer said he had previous convictions for wounding.

Sean Fritchley, mitigating said the father-of-three was "thoroughly ashamed of his actions" which sounded like "something from The Sopranos".

Dawson, of Hill End Close, admitted grievous bodily harm, kidnap and illegal money lending.

He was sentenced to seven years in prison at Sheffield Crown Court.

Recorder Adrian Langdale KC described Dawson as "a vicious loan shark" and that the two victims who reported him, were the only ones "brave enough to come forward."

He said: "Any right-thinking member of society will be disgusted by the way you treated human beings.

"You treated them as nothing more than walking cash machines to be used, abused and attacked at will and have their lives destroyed and treated by you as nothing less than human beings."

Following sentencing, Tony Quigley, head of the England Illegal Money Lending Team said a "predatory criminal" had been removed from the streets.

“This man is a ruthless and cruel individual who deliberately targeted the most vulnerable people in the community, taking everything they had and leaving them with nothing. He knew they couldn’t fight back and took advantage of that.

"They may recover from those physical injuries but the mental torment he caused was enormous and they may never recover from the trauma they suffered at his hands," he said.

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