BY YANN TEAR
Three west Londoners who were part of 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 30 years.
It followed an investigation by the Met’s Modern Slavery and Kidnap Unit, which had to collect evidence without the benefit of a witness statement from the victim, who was too terrified of repercussions to speak out.
The trio were part of a gang of five who were all charged with conspiracy to kidnap. They denied the offence but were convicted on April 8 following a six-week trial at Harrow Crown Court.
The whole gang was sentenced at the same court on Friday.
Jamal Gordon-Harris, 23, of Dart Street, North Kensington was jailed for 10 years and three months.
Rennell Rutty, 27, of Creighton Close, Shepherd’s Bush, was jailed for nine years and nine months, and Bradley Evans, 40, of Fulham Palace Road, Fulham, was jailed for 10 years and three months.
The other two in the gang were Aston Rochester, 36 and Denzil Rochester, 31, both of Chaplin Road, Harrow.
Aston Rochester was handed a term of 11 years and three months, Denzil Rochester nine years and nine months.
On September 24 last year, at about 9pm, the victim and his pregnant girlfriend drove back from a dinner date to her home home in Woodchester Square, near Little Venice.
As they got out of their car, 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 while repeatedly punching and kicking him. He was later moved from the van into the rear footwell of a car and beaten further.
At around 1.15am, the victim was taken to Evans’ home 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 getting out of a car, and running up to collect the watch before returning to the vehicle 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 October 31.
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.”