Aberdeen woman caught red-handed after staging kidnap hoax to extort £2,000 from partner

A woman told her partner she had been kidnapped and would lose her hands if he didn’t pay for her safe release.

Rachel Skene, 30, concocted two schemes and sent numerous texts to him demanding he pay money into a bank account.

During her first plot she demanded just £130 to be liberated from her fictional hostage takers.

Fiscal depute Stephanie Ross told the court the victim had begun an “association” with Skene in April 2015.

Ms Ross said at around 10.20pm on February 11, 2016, the man received a text from Skene saying she “needed £175 and she was being essentially held against her will and had a black eye, and people had told her to get the money now”.

One message also stated: “£130 and we let her go”.

The money was paid, but the man suspected Skene “concocted the story to get money from him”.

Police traced and interviewed Skene days later and she “admitted sending the messages in order to obtain money” to pay off debt and that she had “received £130” from the man.

Undeterred by a police visit following her first hoax, months later she tried to get the victim to hand over more cash – this time teaming up with John Gaskell, 26, and demanding £2,000 or she would lose her hands.

Aberdeen Sheriff Court was told on May 29 this year her partner received a number of messages stating Skene “was with a male and that harm would come” to her if money wasn’t transferred into her account.

Messages claimed Skene had taken a watch from Gaskell and he wanted to be paid for it, more than £2,000, and threatened to chop Skene’s hands off.

Her victim did not pay and contacted police, who traced Skene to a property with Gaskell, and detained them both.

At Aberdeen Sheriff Court yesterday Skene pleaded guilty to pretending she was being held against her will and required payment from the man for her release, obtaining money by fraud.

Gaskell and Skene also admitted attempting to extort money from the man by threatening that unless he paid money into Skene’s bank account she would be seriously injured. Gaskell was on bail at the time of the offence.

Sheriff William Summers deferred sentence on Skene, whose address was given in court papers as Oldcroft Court, Aberdeen, and Gaskell, whose address was given as Lancaster Road, Liverpool, for social work reports to be prepared.