Three men who carried out a kidnap in Ramsgate, demanding thousands of pounds from the victim’s family, have been jailed.
During the afternoon of Wednesday 23 October 2019 the victim, a man in his 20s, disappeared before his family received a phone call saying he had been taken by people who believed he owed a debt of £17,000, and he would be killed if the debt wasn’t paid.
During a series of calls from the kidnappers, the victim could be heard in pain in the background.
His family were ordered to withdraw £2,000 from a relative’s bank account, which was collected from them in a car park in Ramsgate.
Further demands for cash then took place, around 24 hours after the victim was kidnapped, and the family reported the matter to Kent Police. An investigation was subsequently launched by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate.
After receiving information there had been a sighting of the victim being put in the boot of a BMW near Margate Road in Ramsgate, officers tracked down the vehicle and arrested the driver, 23-year-old Reece Stovell, in Manston Way on Friday 25 October.
Further enquiries led to officers stopping another car shortly after midnight on Saturday 26 October. Inside the vehicle they found the victim being held by two men, 22-year-old Elliot Cocks and 24-year-old Marco Bondzie.
The victim had suffered various injuries including deep cuts and heavy bruising.
Two lock knives were found in the car, together with mobile phones which linked the men to the ransom calls made to the family.
Bondzie, of Cannonbury Road, Ramsgate, was charged with kidnap along with Cocks, of Prices Avenue in Margate, and Stovell, of Princess Margaret Avenue, Ramsgate.
All three pleaded guilty to the charge at Canterbury Crown Court and on Thursday 19 March 2020 they were sentenced to 22 years imprisonment between them.
Bondzie was sentenced to nine years, Cocks eight years and Stovell five years.
Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Gavin Moss said: ‘To plan and carry out a kidnap, including the assault of the victim, is unusual here in Kent and it shows just how vile these men are.
‘I cannot begin to imagine the terror the victim’s family must have experienced when they realised a loved one was in such danger.
‘It can be difficult for families to know what to do when faced with that situation. Fortunately, we have teams of specialists who are trained to react quickly to the incidents of this nature and safely recover the victim.
‘I hope the victim and his family can begin to get on with their lives, safe in the knowledge that Bondzie, Cocks and Stovell are now facing a long time in prison.’