Man pleads guilty to threatening hotel owner for money

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By Latrishka Thomas

An English Harbour man has pleaded guilty to threatening the owner of a popular Antiguan hotel in a bid to extort cash.

Lorenzo “Rambo” Bright on Tuesday admitted to the charge of demanding money with menaces to steal during his trial.

Hotel owner Aidan McCauley in his testimony explained that on October 20 2015 he was knocked to the ground and kidnapped by two masked men.

He said the men, who put him in the back of his Range Rover, covered his eyes with tape and demanded $100,000.

He said the men threatened to kill him if he didn’t give them money, so he suggested that they go to an ATM.

One of the men drove the jeep while the other held the victim in the back seat, the court heard.

They took the complainant to First Caribbean’s drive-through ATM on Old Parham Road, then to the ATMs at Townhouse Megastore and then to the ATM at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECAB) on Airport Road.

The victim further explained that after his daily limit was reached on four cards, the men decided to hold him until midnight and go back to the ATMs.

He said they were able to withdraw about $10,000 in total.

Then the men drove to Gray’s Farm where they wiped down the vehicle and allowed the man to drive away.

The men, according to the victim’s evidence, threatened to kill McCauley’s entire family if he disclosed the matter to the police, so the victim did not report the matter until days later upon speaking with one of his police acquaintances.

Then, in May 2016, the hotelier found a threatening note with an illuminati symbol in one of his cars.

He said that two months later, on July 15, he received a phone call from a strange number and the male caller said “today would be a good day if you do what you’re told.”

The complainant said he hung up the phone and ignored all of the calls from that number.

Two days later while walking with his son, a man called out his name and then approached him from behind demanding money.

That man was later identified as the 34-year-old accused.

Before the hotel owner could finish testifying, Bright decided to change his plea, pleading guilty to demanding with menaces.

But since the man has been imprisoned since August 2016, he was given no further jail time for the offence carries a maximum jail time of five years.

However, Justice Ann-Marie Smith fined Bright $3,000 for what she described as “despicable behavior”.

Bright will have to pay the money by May 29or spend 12 months in prison.

He was also asked to apologise to the complainant. The defendant was not charged with kidnapping since there is no evidence to prove that he was one of the masked kidnappers.

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