A Watford man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in the kidnap and torture of a man from Cardiff.
In a case described as one of the most intricate kidnap investigations in recent UK history, a man from Watford has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for his involvement in the abduction and torture of a man from Cardiff. This elaborate criminal enterprise involved an organized crime group and spanned multiple locations, demanding a £50,000 ransom for the victim’s safe return.
The harrowing incident took place on December 11, 2020, when a 22-year-old man was forcibly taken from Clifton Street, Splott, and transported to Odet Court in Pendwyallt Road, Whitchurch. Unbeknownst to the victim, a kidnapping plot was already in motion. The organized crime group, armed with firearms and edged weapons, held the victim and his friends at gunpoint and knife-point while making the ransom demand.
The victim’s ordeal led to a dramatic turn of events when, at 7.57 pm on the same day, South Wales Police received a 999 emergency call. In response, the force’s Major Crime Investigation Team swiftly initiated an extensive inquiry into the incident. The victim’s connection to a member of a London-based gang played a pivotal role in this operation.
Following his abduction, the victim was moved to a separate location in Hemel Hempstead, where he endured further physical abuse. He was handcuffed, threatened with a trained attack dog, and kept at knife-point. In the face of these dire circumstances, a collaborative effort involving multiple police forces and the National Crime Agency successfully rescued the victim from the Hemel Hempstead address at 11.30 pm on December 12, 2020.
The victim expressed his profound gratitude to law enforcement during a court hearing, stating that he believed his life had been saved by the police. He expressed his certainty that he would not have survived had the police not intervened. The motive behind the plot to harm him remains unknown.
Nearly three years later, following three trials, justice has been served as nine men were convicted in connection with this horrifying incident. Among them, Micaiah Marley, a 30-year-old from Watford, received a 15-year prison sentence with an additional four-year extended sentence. Isaac, aged 66 and from Hemel Hempstead, was also found guilty of kidnap and false imprisonment, resulting in a six-year prison sentence.
Throughout the investigation, a significant cache of weapons was seized, including six knives, five live rounds of ammunition, a handgun, a smoke grenade, and a taser disguised as a mobile phone. Detectives painstakingly gathered more than 400 hours of CCTV footage from five different police force areas and recorded over 1,000 statements from witnesses and those involved.
Six of the nine have been given extended sentence amounting to 22 years for the danger they pose to the public. This means should they commit any further offences during the extended sentence period, 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 were:
- Micaiah Marley, 30, from Watford. Sentenced to 15 years in prison plus four years extended sentence.
- Fortune Lawson, 27. Sentenced to 25 years plus five years extended sentence.
- Davood Assadopour, 32, from Harrow, London. Sentenced to 15 years in prison plus four years extended sentence.
- Arnold Fumumeya, 27, from Harrow, London. Sentenced to 13 years in prison plus three years extended sentence.
- Alexis Mutesa, 27, from Brent, London. Sentenced to 13 years in prison plus three years extended sentence.
- Gideon Lawson, 24, from London. Sentenced to 12 years in prison plus three years extended sentence.
- Ahmed Omar, 29, from Mitcham, Surrey. Sentenced to nine years in prison.
- Also, Denis Delishaj, 24, from Harrow, London, convicted of blackmail. Sentenced to eight years in prison, plus eight 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 six years.
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.”