Kidnap victim tortured
Judge jails gang for inflicting ‘shocking and sadistic’ ordeal
SIX men have been jailed for a three-day ‘sadistic’ kidnap and torture in Cowley.
Darren ‘ Biggs’ Vassell, 35, of St Luke Close, Cowley, and fellow gang members snatched victim Mohammed Mirza from Kimms Kutts barber salon in Hounslow, on June 18 last year, the Old Bailey heard.
Two months earlier, Vassell had planted a large package of “skunk” at Mr Mirza’s former workplace, Shine Salon in Hounslow, to create an excuse to demand money, it was alleged.
The victim was driven around the area for several hours as the gang made demands and threats to his life, unless he handed over £2,500.
Mr Mirza was eventually taken to St Luke Close in Cowley, where his hands were bound together with electrical wires.
It was here that Vassell and his brother Marvin, 40, and co-kidnappers Derek Johnston, 40, and Aaron Ellis, 22, began a sadistic and sustained assault.
Mr Mirza was repeatedly hit around the head and body with an iron bar and a computer monitor was thrown at his head.
Ellis heated a metal fork on a gas hob and repeatedly burned his legs with it.
The brothers took turns stabbing and hacking Mr Mirza with kitchen knives, flaying skin from his arms.
On June 20 last year, acting on intelligence gathered by the Human Trafficking and Kidnap Unit, armed officers from the Met’s Specialist Firearms Command entered the house and rescued Mr Mirza.
Neighbours reported hearing a gunshot, when an officer unintentionally fired a gun.
No one was injured as a result of this but as a matter of routine the Directorate of Professional Standards were informed.
London Ambulance Service took Mr Mirza to Hillingdon Hospital for treatment to his injuries, before he was discharged several days later. He is said to be still recovering from his ordeal.
The court heard how Darren Vassell told the emergency services: “To be honest, I’m not a bad guy. The geezer owed me money, he didn’t pay. It seemed worse than it is.”
Sentencing the gang to 71 and a half years combined, Judge John Bevan QC said: “Bullies tend to be cowards and this exhibition of cruelty is a truly shocking example of sadistic behaviour amounting to torture.”
Darren Vassell admitted kidnap and blackmail, was jailed for 18 years for two counts of false imprisonment and causing grievous bodily harm. His brother, Marvin Vassell, also of St Luke Close, Cowley, admitted blackmail, false imprisonment and causing grievous bodily harm and was jailed for 13 years and six months.
Derek Johnston, 40, St Christopher Road, Cowley, was jailed for 21 years for kidnap, blackmail, two counts of false imprisonment and causing grievous bodily harm.
Aaron Ellis, 22, of Chestnut Avenue, West Drayton, will spend nine years behind bars for grievous bodily harm.
The other defendants were Jamal McLaughlin, 34, of Gravesend Road, Shepherd’s Bush, and Carlton Rodney, 50, of Charles Road, Ealing, who were jailed for six years and four years respectively.
Detective Sergeant Tim Mustoe, from the Met’s Organised Crime Command, said after the trial: “I hope today’s sentences bring the victim some solace and reassure the public that the Met will relentlessly pursue those who commit crime.”
n JAILED: Top row, Darren and Marvin Vassell and Aaron Ellis. Bottom, Derek Johnston, Jamal McLaughlin and Carlton Rodney