Kidnap gang sentenced to 21 years behind bars

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A GANG of five men who tied up a student and beat him with a hammer before threatening to bury him alive has today been sentenced to a total of 21 years.

Sam Simon lured the 21-year-old victim Ben Hutchings, who was a friend of his, to a house in East Street, Hastings.

He and his brother Alex Simon and their friend Muhammet Yalcin tied Mr Hutchings up, gagged him and then punched, kicked and beat him with a hammer.

They then stuffed him into a body bag, loaded him into a car and were driven to Brede High Wood by Artur Oganesyan where they all discussed burying the student alive before they assaulted him again.

The two-hour ordeal on 19 September last year ended when the men took their terrified victim back to Hastings and released him into the street.

Mr Hutchings suffered broken teeth, cuts and severe bruises and was treated at the Conquest Hospital.

Officers quickly arrested Alex Simon, Yalcin and Oganesyan and within a few days Sam Simon had also been arrested.

After the first arrests, Jowad Ghemati approached the victim and offered him thousands of pounds to drop the case.

At Hove Crown Court today Sam Simon, 21, of Earl Street, Hastings was sentenced to six years in prison for false imprisonment to which he had pleaded guilty. He also pleaded guilty to two charges of possession with intent to supply a class A drug and was sentenced to another three years, making nine in total.

Alex Simon, 17, also of Earl Street, was convicted of false imprisonment at an earlier trial and sentenced to four years in prison.

Muhammet “Melik” Yalcin, 20, of Kenilworth Road, St Leonards, was convicted of false imprisonment at an earlier trial and sentenced to five years.

Artur Oganesyan, 23, of Stanley Road, Hastings, was convicted of false imprisonment and jailed for two years.

Jowad Ghemati, 27, of Holmhurst Lane, St Leonards, was convicted of witness intimidation and sentenced to 12 months behind bars.