My chance meeting with an old friend ended in a high speed car chase.

Published by: Fiona Ford
Published on: 12th April 2010

Clambering out of my Vauxhall Astra, I got to the front door and knocked. ‘Me again,’ I beamed to Jo, my fiance’s ex. It was a good job we all got on so well. Tonight I was taking her daughter Shenay, seven, to stay with her dad Lance and our own little girl Cora-May, three.
I’d only popped back to pick up Shenay’s pyjamas. Before I knew it, we’d talked for 20 minutes. ‘Blimey! I’ve got to get back, to give the kids their tea,’ I gasped.
Spinning around to wave goodbye, I walked straight into someone coming down the street.
‘Sorry I…’ Looking up, I smiled. ‘Terry? How are you?!’
I’d bumped into Terry Spriggs, an old pal and best mate of an old boyfriend. When Terry had been down on his luck four years ago, he’d stayed with us for six months.
‘Tracey,’ he cheered, picking me up and spinning me around. ‘What are you doing here?’ I gasped in surprise.
‘An old flame lives in the area,’ he shrugged. ‘Me and John thought we’d pop by.’
I hadn’t even noticed the guy standing behind him.
‘Um. You couldn’t give us a lift into town?’ asked Terry, nodding towards my car.
‘Sorry,’ I sighed. ‘I’ve got to get back to the kids and…’
But he’d climbed into the passenger seat before I could finish. John jumped in the back. ‘It’ll only take a minute,’ he said.
Well, he was a mate and he was right, it wouldn’t take long.
‘Nice ring,’ he sniffed, checking out my trilogy diamond engagement ring.
‘I love turning it in the sunlight and watching it sparkle,’ I sighed. ‘Lance teases me about it. He reckons I love it more than the idea of marrying him!’ I giggled.
‘Is it real?’ John interrupted.
‘Yes,’ I frowned. How rude.
‘Here’ll do fine,’ Terry said all of a sudden pointing to a lay-by. Stopping, Terry suddenly pushed his face into mine.
‘I’ve been to your house and punched out Lance’s light,’ he spat. ‘You’ll get worse if you don’t do what I say!’
What?! Was this a sick joke?
But his eyes were as hard as steel. Nausea washed over me.
What the hell was going on?!
‘Give me the ring,’ he demanded.
Clutching my left hand to me, I shook my head, now in tears.
Terry wrenched the ring off my finger, bending it back painfully before I could react.
Worse, he snatched the car keys out of the ignition. Now I was at his mercy. 
‘If you want your ring back, call Lance and tell him to meet us here with £200,’ he said slowly.
Why was he doing this? 
‘Do it or I’ll kill you!’ he barked, shoving his mobile at me.
My imagination went into overdrive as terror gripped me. He must be hiding a knife, or a gun! I had to do what he said …
I dialled Lance. ‘Help,’ I croaked. ‘Terry and John… they’re going to hurt me.’
‘Oh God, Tracey!’ cried Lance. ‘They’ve got to you. They appeared from nowhere this morning and threatened me.’
I explained everything to Lance.
‘I’ll get the money,’ he promised, hanging up.
‘Why are you doing this to me?’ I cried, turning to my captors.
‘It’s not personal,’ John sniggered. ‘You were just in the right place at the right time.’
‘But we’re mates,’ I complained, looking at Terry.
‘I haven’t seen you in years,’ he laughed. ‘You’re not my pal.’
So those six months he’d lived rent-free with us meant nothing.
Twenty minutes later, Lance appeared with  a split lip from where they’d punched him earlier.
‘Let her go,’ Lance shouted.
‘When we get the money,’ John yelled. With that, Terry leaped out of my car and Lance threw the money to him.
Grabbing it, Terry ran to my car door and threw the ring at me…
I’d be free any moment now… but at the last second, he shoved me, and I fell back into the driving seat.
‘Drive!’ Terry yelled.
In the mirror, I could see Lance making a phone sign with his hands.
‘You said you’d let me go,’ I pleaded.
‘I lied,’ Terry snapped.
I was being kidnapped. I might never marry Lance, I might never see my
kids again…
Tears rolled down my cheeks. ‘Stop crying!’ John barked.
An hour passed, and all I could do was watch Weymouth whiz by. Suddenly, Terry slammed his hand on the dashboard.
‘Bloody police,’ he shouted.
Glancing in the mirror, I saw flashing blue lights. Yes! Lance must’ve dialled 999.
‘Go faster!’ he yelled, and I pushed on the accelerator pedal.
‘You’ll kill us,’ I complained.
‘I’m not going down for this,’ Terry cried.
Suddenly, three police cars appeared from nowhere, forcing me to slam my car to a halt.
In a flash, officers handcuffed Terry and John, and I was free!
Reunited with Lance, Cora-May and Shenay, I hugged them tightly,
‘I thought I’d never see you again,’ I sobbed.
Lance wrapped his arms around us all.
‘I’ll never let anything happen to you again,’ he vowed.
Terry Spriggs, 29, and John Edwards, 37, pleaded guilty to robbery and false imprisonment.
At Dorchester Crown Court, Spriggs was sentenced to four and a half years in prison, and Edwards to three.
I’m so grateful I’ve got my family back – they’re far more precious than any engagement ring.
Tracey Gulliver, 25, Portland, Dorset