The trio were sentenced today (Thursday 16 December) at Croydon Crown Court as follows:
[A] Deji Adegunle, aged 22, unemployed, of 18 Medlar St SE5
= conspiracy to commit kidnap – 13 years
= false imprisonment – 13 years
= blackmail – 13 years
[B] Ladi Agbaje, aged 28, unemployed, of 122 Camberwell Grove SE5
= conspiracy to commit kidnap – 7 years
= false imprisonment – 7 years
[C] Stephen Rochester, aged 21, unemployed, of 91 Don Phelan Close SE5
= conspiracy to commit kidnap – 9 years
= false imprisonment – 9 years
All sentences are to run concurrent.
Detective Chief Inspector Craig Turner, from the Metropolitan Police Service Kidnap Unit, said: "These were organised and clearly dangerous individuals who have rightly faced justice for the terror they inflicted on their victim."
On 13 November 2009 the victim was lured by an unknown woman to Rochester’s home address where he was kidnapped. He was then held in a series of addresses across south London whilst demands of up to £50,000 were made to his family to secure his safe release. Greatly concerned for his health and welfare, the family worked closely with detectives from the Metropolitan Police Kidnap Unit to mediate with the kidnappers in an effort to secure his release.
During his incarceration, the victim was assaulted, tied up with duct tape, threatened with a gun and had a heated knife held against his skin.
At 02:47hrs on 18 November detectives observed a silver Golf drive into Lancaster Street from Borough Road, SE1 and slow outside the entrance to Gateway Hostel before parking in a nearby side street. Rochester appeared from the vehicle in a blue hooded top, walked towards the entrance whilst talking on his mobile phone and rang the doorbell. Soon afterwards Adegunle and Agbaje appeared at the doorway holding the victim by the arm and put him into the car.
Officers followed and an armed stop was carried out on the car in the Old Kent Road at approximately 03:15hrs. Adegunle and Agbaje were immediately arrested on suspicion of kidnap, false imprisonment and blackmail. The hostage was rescued from the back seat of the car and was visibly shaken with a substantial black eye. He was taken to hospital and treated for his injuries.
Rochester, who had remained at the address in Lancaster Street, was observed by officers getting onto a bus at which point he was then arrested. When searched, officers found keys to his address in Camberwell where the victim had been held.
A man and two women [D/E/G] also arrested in connection with the incident were subsequently released no further action.