Updated: Wednesday, 16th October 2019 @ 4:53pm

‘Violent criminals’ locked-up for torching Manchester businessman’s car after blackmail siege over debt

‘Violent criminals’ locked-up for torching Manchester businessman’s car after blackmail siege over debt

| By Rory Claydon

Four arsonists have been locked up after they torched a Greater Manchester businessman’s car over his trade partner’s unpaid debt.

Tommy Roye, Marcel Lauder, Ashley Guishard and Jamie Keegan were convicted on various counts at Manchester Crown Court and will serve sentences ranging from 24 months to six years.

The gang had been involved in a two-month conspiracy to blackmail the victim – who was involved in running a Cheshire nightclub – over a debt his business partner owed to Roye.

Roye had threatened the partner – who owed out various debts totalling £30,000 – over the unpaid money on numerous occasions, including a heated exchange in a Stretford pub on August 13, 2012.

The victim became entangled in the dispute after driving to the pub and offering to provide £5,000 towards repaying the debt to give his partner time to raise the remaining funds.

Despite this promise, as the victim and friend were leaving the Lord Nelson pub in Urmston on October 1, 2012, they were ambushed by Roye and Guishard.

Roye demanded to know where the money was and verbally threatened the victim, saying he knew where he lived.

The victim then gave Roye the keys to his Audi to try and pacify him, with Roye saying the car would be torched if the victim went to the police.

However, the next morning the victim texted Roye asking for the car back while guaranteeing payment of the £5,000 by October 11.

Roye agreed, the car was returned, and the victim’s business partner promised to pay off the remaining debt.

On October 10, the day before the payment was due, Roye bombarded the victim with threatening texts revealing that he knew the victim’s address.

Fearing for his safety, the victim replied that he had no option but to go to the police.

Upon receiving the victim's reply, Roye responded with ‘POLICE, CALL THE FIRE SERVICE ASWEL[sic]’, indicating his intention to commit arson.

Roye then recruited Keegan and Lauder, and on October 12 the gang torched the victim’s car while it was parked in his driveway.

The following day Roye and Guishard were arrested by police, and a subsequent search of Roye’s home turned up an array of weaponry including two samurai swords and a machete.

Roye, of Urmston, was sentenced to six years behind bars after being convicted of blackmail, conspiracy to commit arson and threatening to destroy property.

Guishard, of Ashton-on-Mersey, was convicted of conspiracy to commit arson and jailed for three years.

Lauder and Keegan, both of Sale, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit arson and blackmail, and will serve 28 months and 24 months respectively.

Detective Sergeant Patrick Goodrich, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "I have no doubt whatsoever that the streets are a lot safer now that these four men are behind bars.”

"This case involved a totally innocent and legitimate businessman who unwittingly became embroiled in a blackmail plot driven by a gang of violent criminals. 
  
"All he wanted to do was help out a colleague who had got himself into debt, and for his troubles endured two months of hell at the hands of an extremely intimidating and aggressive band of criminals. 

Det Sarg Goodrich added that the nature of the convicted men’s actions were an indication of the threat they posed, before praising the victim’s resolve.
  
He said: "That they went so far as to torch this man's car as it was parked on his driveway, bearing in mind this man has a wife and daughter, shows how dangerous these men were and you can only imagine the anguish this man suffered for those two months, being bombarded with violent threats simply for trying to help a colleague. 

“I would also like to praise the tenacity of the victim himself who hung in there despite the hell he was subjected to and helped us to convict these men.”

While organised crime is still at the forefront of police operations in Manchester, Det Sarg Goodrich assured the public that progress is being made.
  
"Organised crime groups like these cause real misery and hardship for law-abiding and innocent members of our communities,” he said. “However, in Trafford we have been targeting organised crime groups at all levels for the last two years and have achieved some fantastic results by working in collaboration with a host of partner agencies. 
  
"We are tackling these groups with every tactic open to us, taking away their liberty, their homes, their cars and their cash.

“We will continue to target these organised crime groups and people in Trafford can help us by reporting any criminal activity they see in their neighbourhood." 

Victims of crime should contact GMP on 0161 856 7655

Alternatively, people can contact the anonymous service Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111