Four men guilty of “harrowing” kidnapping

One of the convicts Lerone Vincent. Photo: Met Police

Four men have been found guilty in Croydon crown court, for kidnapping and savagely torturing a man with learning disabilities. The gang had intended on blackmailing the man’s family.

Brothers Kareem, 21, and Andre Ricketts, 23, Jeremiah Clarke, 20, and Daniel Gagliano, 22, kidnapped and tortured a 22-year-old, in order to get ransom from his family in February last year.

Detective Chief Inspector Craig Turner said: “This was a particularly harrowing case, whereby a gang deliberately targeted a vulnerable young man and subjected him to the most horrific ordeal.”

“These were dangerous individuals who have rightly faced justice for the terror they inflicted on their victim and his family,” he said.

The victim, who has learning disabilities, had just picked up his girlfriend’s children, aged 6 and 11, from school when he was approached by a group of youths. They chased and beat him, pistol-whipping him before bundling him into a car.

A female witness tried to intervene but was also threatened by the gang. The woman took the children, who ran from the scene, to a safe place.

The hostage was then taken to an address in Streatham where he was blindfolded. Gang members threatened and tortured him by beating to the body and the head.

Members of the gang made phone calls from different mobile phones, demanding cash. The victim was forced to speak with his family and plead for the money. On other phone calls he could be heard shouting in the background.

Police entered the flat on Hopton Road 24 hours after the kidnapping, where they found the victim along with his captors. The hostage was immediately taken to a hospital.

Four other members of the gang have pleaded guilty to several charges relating to the crime. They are Tyrone Payne, 20, Taylor Harris, 19, Lerone Vincent, 19, and a 17-year-old male from southeast London

They will all be sentenced at the same court on March 28.

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