Two men who kidnapped a man, threatened him at gunpoint and blackmailed his family, have been jailed for more than 17 years.
The men were sentenced on Friday, 22 November, following a three-week long trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
Carlos Boente, 38 of Edwin Street, E16 was found guilty of kidnap, possession of a firearm whilst committing a Schedule 1 offence, blackmail and theft. He was sentenced to nine-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.
Aqeel Smith, 20 of High Road, RM6 was found guilty of kidnap, possession of a firearm whilst committing a Schedule 1 offence, blackmail and theft. He was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment.
Shortly after 10.30pm on 25 October 2018, officers were contacted by a man who stated that his brother-in-law had just been kidnapped at gunpoint from outside his home in Leyton, E10 and dragged into a vehicle. The wife of the hostage subsequently received calls from her husband’s phone, demanding that a ransom of between £2,000 and £5,000 be paid, in order to secure the release of her husband.
The hostage was released following a two-hour long ordeal and no money was exchanged. He sustained minor injuries and had a gun held to his chest and throat, and had a knife prodded into his head.
The hostage was able to tell officers that he had previously met the suspects and undertaken some work for them repairing mobile phones. Analysis of call data and forensication of the vehicle used in the kidnap – which had been identified using CCTV – enabled detectives to identify the two suspects, Smith and Boente.
The two men were arrested in October 2018 in possession of the victim’s mobile phone, along with a replica firearm.
Acting Detective Chief Inspector Rick Sewart, from the Met’s Flying Squad, said: “This was a terrifying experience for the victim, who was bundled into a car and threatened with both a gun and a knife during his two-hour long ordeal.
“We may never know exactly why the victim was kidnapped, but it is due to the hard work and diligence of my detectives that they were able to identify and apprehend these two men, and ensure that they have faced justice and a substantial custodial sentence.”