Sussex Police

Man Jailed After Chopping Victim's Thumbs Off With Ax

A court found a man to be responsible for chopping off someone's thumbs after investigators unearthed a disturbing pun he sent to friends.

Stephen Bryant, of St Leonards-on-Sea in England, has been jailed for life for dragging the victim from his home and carrying out the "sadistic" attack over a drug debt.

Investigating officers said he sent this message in the days leading up to the incident:

Found him boys and all in *hand* LOL.

The alarm was raised after someone witnessed the kidnapping on May 29 last year.

The victim managed to escape 45 minutes later and make his way to some remote cottages where emergency services were contacted.

He was bleeding heavily from his hands after both of his thumbs had been severed almost entirely.

Sussex Police

Although the victim initially refused to tell police many details, he said he had been held down and attacked with an ax.

Bryant was apprehended in June 2015 after CCTV traced his BMW.

Bryant pleaded not guilty to the charges of kidnapping and grievous bodily harm with intent. He was found guilty of both and must serve a minimum of 10 years.

Detective constable Nick O'Shaughnessy, who was awarded a Judge's Commendation for his thorough work on the case, said,

The victim's injuries to his hands were horrendous and he has undergone a large amount of surgery. However, he will never have the same movement in his hands again and the injury has been life-changing. The incident was in connection with a drugs debt. Bryant is an extremely violent man and his actions that day were vicious beyond words. He is well known in the St Leonards area and believed he was above the law.

Jailing Bryant for life, Judge Anthony Niblett branded the attack "carefully planned" and "sadistic," adding, "The brutality of these offenses was exceptional."

Citations: Sussex Police, Metro