An investigation by the Chief Constable’s Crime Squad linked Eli Smith, James Lee and Prince Adeshokan to a disturbance in Detling, where victims were terrorised with weapons, including a machete and an axe. Kent Police was called during the early hours of 22 July 2020, to reports that armed men had entered a location off Scragged Oak Road and broken into three caravans, demanding money from the occupants. Three of the victims suffered injuries, including a man who was stabbed in the arm with a knife.
A woman carrying a young child was ordered out of another caravan by one of the men who was wielding an axe, whilst a further victim in another property was forced to seek refuge in a bedroom with her children. The suspects left in a white transit van which hours later was found set on fire in Rumstead Lane, Thurnham.
Overwhelming evidence The investigation identified an Audi had been travelling in convoy with the van and detectives were able to link this car to Smith and Lee. Then, on 25 July 2020, Kent Police received information of a separate aggravated burglary committed in the Surrey area. A black Mercedes was identified as being involved and checks showed the registered owner of the vehicle was also connected to the previously identified Audi. On the following day the Mercedes was stopped by officers, and Smith and Lee were both arrested. Further enquiries would link the men’s movements to Adeshokan’s home address in Lakehall Gardens, Thornton Heath and on 25 August he was also detained. A machete and knife were seized from his property. Appearing before Maidstone Crown Court all three pleaded guilty to a charge of conspiracy to commit aggravated burglary and were sentenced on Wednesday 19 May 2021. Smith, aged 25, of Five Kilns, Stockbury Valley, Sittingbourne was jailed for eight years. Lee, aged 22, also of Five Kilns, Stockbury Valley, Sittingbourne was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years’ imprisonment. Adeshokan, aged 21, received ten years, which included two years for breaching a previous suspended sentence. Lies told by relative A relative of Smith and Lee – Levy Deeprose, aged 31 – was also convicted and sentenced on a charge of perverting the course of justice. At the same time Smith and Lee had been on remand, Deeprose was also at the prison serving a sentence for other matters. In an effort to clear them of any blame he made false claims he was involved in their crimes. Deeprose stated that he and a number of unnamed offenders had attended the location to pay back a drug debt, adding he wasn’t aware of the violence these mystery associates intended to use. Penrose was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, to be served concurrently alongside his existing term. Detective Constable Rachel Laidlaw said: ‘The victims in these crimes were woken in the middle of the night and subjected to a truly terrifying ordeal. Smith, Lee and Adeshokan were either directly or indirectly responsible for acts of mindless violence, which were carried out in the presence of young children.‘Whilst we may never know the precise role each of them played, indisputable evidence including data from phones and ANPR has proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that each had leading roles.‘These offences were targeted and planned by dangerous criminals who have little regard for the fear and distress their actions cause, and so it is pleasing to see justice has been served with what are significant prison sentences.’