An organised criminal group who dragged a man away from his pregnant girlfriend, beat him and poured acid over him have been jailed for more than 50 years.
The following were all charged with conspiracy to kidnap. They denied the offence but were convicted on 8 April 2019 following a six-week trial at Harrow Crown Court.
They were sentenced at the same court on Friday, 12 July to the following:
Aston Rochester, 36 (16.6.1983) of Chaplin Road, HA0 was jailed for 11 years and three months.
Denzil Rochester, 31 (26.7.1987) of Chaplin Road, HA0 was jailed for nine years and nine months.
Jamal Gordon-Harris, 23 (20.2.1996) of Dart Street, W10 was jailed for 10 years and three months.
Rennell Rutty, 27 (30.5.1992) of Creighton Close, W12 was jailed for nine years and nine months.
Bradley Evans, 40 (10.8.1978) of Fulham Palace Road, SW6 was jailed for 10 years and three months.
The sentences follow an investigation by the Met’s Modern Slavery and Kidnap Unit.
At approximately 21:00hrs on 24 September 2018 the victim and his pregnant girlfriend returned from dinner into the car park area of her address in Woodchester Square, W2.
As they exited their vehicle, a group of men wearing balaclavas approached and tried to pull the woman into a van. She managed to escape but the victim was bundled in and driven away. The group drove around whilst repeatedly punching and kicking him. He was later moved from the van into the rear footwell of a car and beaten further.
At 01:15hrs the victim was taken to Evans's home address in Fulham Palace Road where he was kept bound in a bath for 12 hours. He was kicked and punched and had corrosive fluid poured over him, causing burns to his skin.
During this time an unregistered mobile number rang the victim’s mother and demanded money. She spoke to her son who told her he feared he would be killed if payment wasn’t made.
An initial cash payment was made to the captors, but they demanded further payments. Despite receiving around £6,000 the captors still did not release the victim.
Later the same day they demanded the victim’s Rolex watch, which his mother left on a tyre on a parked car as instructed. CCTV captured Gordon-Harris exiting a vehicle, running up and collecting the watch before returning to the car and being driven away.
During the collection the victim was left on the side of the road. He was helped by a passing member of public and taken to hospital. Due to the fear of repercussions he never provided police with a statement.
Gordon-Harris and Rutty were both arrested shortly after the collection of the Rolex. Denzil and Aston Rochester were arrested at their home address later the same day. Evans was arrested on 31 October 2018.
Throughout the course of the investigation detectives identified Denzil Rochester as the driver of the van and Evans as the driver of the car, which were both found to be stolen and using false plates.
The transit van and car were later found burned out in separate locations in north-west London.
Acting Detective Chief Inspector Dan Mitchell from the Met’s Central Specialist Crime Command said: “This organised group kidnapped an innocent man, dragged him from the side of his pregnant girlfriend and subjected him to hours of horrific physical and mental abuse.
“Throughout the course of the investigation it was clear that the motivation of this kidnap was purely financial. The captors demanded thousands of pounds from the victim’s terrified mother who had to listen to her own son tell her he feared he would die.
“The victim was left so scared for his life, he did not provide any statement or information to police to support this prosecution. Despite that, the evidence gathered by officers from the Modern Slavery and Kidnap Unit has led to the conviction and imprisonment of an organised criminal group intent on committing serious, audacious offences across the city.
“I hope this sends a message to anyone considering carrying out such violent and brutal acts, that even without a victim’s statement, we will use all the powers available to us to find the evidence to bring you to justice.”