Nine men have been jailed following the kidnap of a Cardiff man.
The case has been described as is one of the UK’s most complicated kidnap investigations in recent times.
At around 4.30pm on Friday, December 11, 2020, a 22-year-old man was taken from Clifton Street, Splott, to Odet Court in Pendwyallt Road, Whitchurch.
Unbeknown to him, a kidnap plan was already underway by an Organised Crime Group to extort money from him, and his friends, which involved holding them at gun and knife point, and included the demand of a £50k ransom payment to ensure his safe return.
At 7.57pm that day South Wales Police received a 999-call and the force’s Major Crime Investigation Team launched an investigation.
The victim, who was known to a member of the London-based gang, was then transported to a separate location in Hemel Hempstead, England where he continued to be beaten, handcuffed, kept at knife point and under threat of a viciously trained attack dog.
As a result of a joint investigation with several police forces and the National Crime Agency, the victim was safely rescued from the address in Hemel Hempstead at 11.30pm on Saturday, December 12.
During a court hearing, the victim said: “The police saved my life. I don’t believe I would have been alive unless the police came that day. I’m 100% sure. I don’t know what the reason they wanted me dead, but I’m 100% sure I would not be alive.”
Nearly three years later and following three trials, nine men have been convicted.
They were sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court today to a total of 116 years. Six of the nine men have been given extended sentences amounting to 22 years for the danger they pose to the public. This means should they commit any further offences while on licence, at the end of their time in prison, they will return to prison to serve the remainder of their initial custodial sentence.
Convicted of kidnap, false imprisonment, and blackmail are:
Fortune Lawson, 27, from Ealing, London. Sentenced to 25 years in prison plus 5 years extended sentence. (Lawson was also sentenced for his part in a second kidnap and blackmail case in London in 2018).
Davood Assadopour, 32, from Harrow, London. Sentenced to 15 years in prison plus 4 years extended sentence.
Micaiah Marley, 30, from Watford. Sentenced to 15 years in prison plus 4 years extended sentence.
Arnold Fumumeya, 27, from Harrow, London. Sentenced to 13 years in prison plus 3 years extended sentence.
Alexis Mutesa, 27, from Brent, London. Sentenced to 13 years in prison plus 3 years extended sentence.
Gideon Lawson, 24, from London. Sentenced to 12 years in prison plus 3 years extended sentence.
Ahmed Omar, 29, from Mitcham, Surrey. Sentenced to 9 years in prison.
Also, Denis Delishaj, 24, from Harrow, London, convicted of blackmail. Sentenced to 8 years in prison, plus 8 months for possession of an illicit phone while in prison awaiting trial.
Stephen Isaac, 66, from Hemel Hempstead, convicted of kidnap and false imprisonment. Sentenced to 6 years.
During the investigation weapons including six knives, five live rounds of ammunition, a handgun, a grenade smoke bomb, and a taser disguised as a mobile telephone were seized.
Detectives recovered more than 400 hours of CCTV from across 5 Police Force areas and took more than 1,000 statements.
Detective Superintendent Darren George, head of South Wales Police Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “Kidnap and the criminal use of firearms in South Wales is extremely rare and when they do happen, as this Organised Crime Group have found out, we are determined to go after those involved.
“This has been one of the UK’s most complicated kidnap investigations in recent times and it has taken nearly three years to convict these nine individuals.
“We hope our investment into this crime and sentences handed down send a clear message to those intent on bringing this sort of violence to our streets.
“We will relentlessly pursue you with everything at our disposal and you will go to jail.”