Three men were given long prison sentences at Croydon Crown Court today for their part in a plot to kidnap and hold ransom a 21-year-old man.
Ladi Agbaje, 28, Deji Adegunle, 22, and Stephen Rochester, 21, all from Camberwell, were convicted of conspiracy to commit kidnap and false imprisonment.
Their victim, who cannot be named, is the brother of a television actress who is in a relationship with a man also in the public eye, judge Mr Justice Anderson said. The kidnappers believed his family would pay for his release.
He also described the kidnapped man as a “seasoned fraudster” and that the kidnap plot was a ‘’well planned conspiracy’’ although the victim had not actually been harmed.
The court heard that in November 2009 the victim was lured to Rochester’s home in the belief that he was going to be attending a party.
Instead he was beaten to the floor, punched and kicked. He was threatened with having his fingers severed and had a heated knife held against his skin.
The men contacted his sister, demanding £50.000 for his release but the family immediately called the police.
During the negotiating process, the police handed over £1.000, most of which was later in Agbaje’s possession. After the exchange threats to the victim’s sister continued.
Over five days the victim was moved to four different locations in Elephant & Castle but the kidnappers were finally arrested as they were about to move him to a fifth location.
Agbaje, who has previous convictions for robbery and theft, was also convicted of blackmail and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Adegunle was sentenced to seven years in prison after the judge acknowledged his “good character”.
“The victim has stated that you treated him more humanely,” the judge said.
Adegunle had given him drinks, food and spent time with him watching DVD’s.
Rochester, who had previous convictions for robbery and theft, was sentenced to nine years.