More details of Ecclestone mother-in-law kidnapping emerge

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A week after the dramatic rescue of Bernie Ecclestone's mother-in-law Aparecida Schunck from the clutches of a gang of kidnappers in Sao Paulo, more details have emerged about the terrifying nine-day ordeal.

According to reports in Britain's Sunday Times newspaper, the 67-year-old was threatened with beheading with the gang saying that they would post her head to Ecclestone in a brown shopping bag unless Ecclestone agreed to pay a substantial ransom of £28 million, which was later raised to £39 million.

The gang had abducted Ms Schunk from her heavily fortified home by pretending to be couriers delivering a package to her home. Police eventually used mobile phone calls to trace the gang to a farm house in a poor neighbourhood in the nearby city of Cotia, where a heavily-armed team was eventually able to effect her rescue.

No ransom was paid to the kidnappers, with Ecclestone able to joke a few days later that "All my friends know I wouldn't pay a penny for my mother-in-law - although I'd say she's a good mother-in-law."

Police have two men under arrest. Both were already known to police as petty criminals, but neither had any sort of experience in larger scale crimes such as high-profile kidnappings. Vitor Oliveira Amorim, 19, was wanted by police for involvement in several low level offences. Davi Vicente Azevedo, 23, had previously been arrested for theft.

Azevodo's fingerprints had been discovered in Ms Schunk's Ford Fiesta which was found abandoned 25 miles away from her home on the Rodovia Raposo Tavares motorway linking Sao Paulo with Cotia. Police tracked down and arrested Azevodo on the street, and he subsequently co-operated by revealing where Ms Schunk was being held.

Ecclestone's helicopter pilot, Jorge Eurico da Silva, has also been arrested by police who suspect that he may have been the mastermind behind the plan to abduct Ms Schunck. However, head of police Elizabete Ferreira Sato has said that others were involved and that they were still looking for the people that had ordered the kidnapping.

Ecclestone was full of praise for the work of the police in freeing his mother-in-law.

"I'm very happy. The last few days haven't been very good. This isn't a good thing to happen to you and your family," he told the newspaper. "I never anticipated it could happen.

“The police officers we dealt with were fantastic, they did an unbelievable job, it was absolutely first class. We are very, very, very happy with them," he said.

Ms Schunk was shaken but unharmed after her ordeal. "I only ask for these bandits to be jailed so they can't abduct anyone else in Sao Paulo," she said in a statement made a few days after her release.

Her daughter Fabiana Flosi met Formula One rights holder Ecclestone at the 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix where Fabiana worked. They have been married since 2012. Ecclestone initially wanted to travel to Brazil upon hearing of the kidnapping in order to assist in the investigation, but the 85-year-old was told that his presence would be counterproductive.

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