Croydon kidnap gang member who threatened to chop victim’s fingers off jailed for 20 years at Old Bailey

The fifth member of a kidnap gang who brutally tortured two victims was jailed for 20 years at the Old Bailey today.

Christopher White, 29, of Bute Road, Croydon was sentenced after all five men were found guilty on May 14 of offences that included conspiracy to kidnap, conspiracy to falsely imprison, conspiracy to blackmail, GBH, and conspiracy to burgle.

The four other men – Courtney Bishop, Nigel Bishop, Keith Walker and Allan Smith – were jailed on May 15.

Their convictions followed an investigation by the Met’s Human Trafficking & Kidnap Unit.

Detective Sergeant Tim Mustoe said: “The defendants were members of a violent gang that treated kidnap and torture as a business.

“They had no regard for the impact their offending had on the victims or the victims’ families.”

All members of the gang, who are unemployed, were arrested over the course of  October 1 and 2 2014.

The court heard how on May 3 2013 the first victim, a 27-year-old man, had been kidnapped from the street outside his home in Upper Holloway, bundled into the back of a car and driven off.

The victim’s head was covered but he got the impression that he had been taken to a flat in a tower block, remembering the car park and the lift he was taken up in.

While in the flat he was tied up and over the next 12 hours he had a sock shoved in his mouth, a pillow case put over his head and was beaten – causing a broken eye-socket – and burnt on various parts of his body with an iron and boiling water.

Family and friends were contacted to raise money for a ransom to secure his release.

Eventually he was released, being taken from the flat and dumped in Chalk Farm. He subsequently found they had used his keys to burgle his home.

Two days later on May 5 2013 a second man, aged 24, was kidnapped from inside his own home in Enfield.

Due to trauma he was then subjected to, he remembers little of what happened to him other than his head was mostly covered, a sock was shoved in his mouth, he was assaulted with an iron bar and subjected to torture, resulting in serious burns and kidney failure.

His family were contacted and threatened that his fingers would be cut off if they didn’t pay the ransom of £30,000 that eventually saw him released.

He came round in the backseat of his own car somewhere not far from Brent Cross. He spent the next four days recovering in intensive care.

A description was given by the first victim of the tower block flat he was held in having a distinctive circular window and views of Wembley Stadium.

This led to detectives scouring areas and identifying such a property.

This ‘stronghold’ the defendants used to hold the victims was identified as a flat in Dorney on Adelaide Road, NW3.

Fingerprints found at this address linked Courtney Bishop to this stronghold. Mobile phone analysis also linked Courtney Bishop to the other defendants at various points during the offences.

Courtney Bishop was also caught on CCTV from a Costcutters in south London where the family of the second victim had been sent to as part of paying the ransom.

Nigel Bishop was found to have to hired a car that was not only caught on automatic number-plate recognition (ANPR) during the time of the offences, but identified as having been used by the defendant to collect the ransom money from the second victim’s family.

Courtney Bishop, 27, of Dunelm Grove in Lambeth was jailed for a total of 24 years He was convicted on 10 counts against both the victims (five on each victim).

Nigel Bishop, 27, of Dunelm Grove, Lambeth was jailed of total of 14 years after being convicted in relation to the second victim.

He was found not guilty in relation to offences against the first victim.

Allan Smith, 28, of Tufnell Park Road, Islington was jailed of total of 11 years after being convicted in relation to the first victim.

He had not been charged in relation to the second.

Keith Walker, 35, of Lindsey Close, Mitcham was jailed for a total of 14 years after being convicted in relation to the second victim.

He had not been charged in relation to the first.

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