Five Nottinghamshire men who kidnapped, beat and robbed an Ashfield restaurant owner before attempting to blackmail his father have been jailed for more than 29 years.
An investigation by the East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU) found the offenders had carefully planned the attack, even using a tracking device on their victim’s van to find his home address in the days beforehand.
They were all sentenced on Friday, September 23 at Nottingham Crown Court to a total of 29 years imprisonment.
On an evening in May 2015 members of the gang lay in wait as their victim locked his Ashfield restaurant. They bundled him into his own van and drove him to the Bestwood Country Park, during which time they punched and kicked him, cut him with a knife and threatened further violence.
The gang, who had already identified the victim’s home address in Sheffield, forced their captive to call his father, who was at the property, and tell him to leave jewellery and cash at the front of the house.
His father, realising the danger he and his son were in, pushed a wallet through the letter box before jumping out of a window, running to a neighbouring house and calling the police.
They released their victim into the woods to make his own way home, bleeding and bruised and severely traumatised. They had stolen just over £1,500 in cash, along with jewellery worth around £6,000 from his person.
EMSOU detectives, in liaison with Nottinghamshire Police, identified that Rohan Blake and Nathaniel Simpson had purchased a tracking device from a shop in Birmingham. Scrutiny of their associations identified other key members of the group, namely Ashley Walker, Curtis Matthews and Jayquon Kenton and their involvement in the offence.
They were all arrested and charged, but not before Blake was re-arrested on board a plane bound for Jamaica at Gatwick Airport in July 2015.
At Nottingham Crown Court they were jailed as follows: Rohan Blake, aged 36, formerly of Park Road in Bestwood Village, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap, conspiracy to commit robbery and conspiracy to blackmail: Nine years.
Nathaniel Simpson, aged 30, formerly of Stoneycroft Road in Old Basford, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to kidnap and conspiracy to commit blackmail: Eight years.
Jayquon Kenton, aged 23, formerly of Constance Street, New Basford, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit robbery having previously pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and heroin with intent to supply: Five years and ten months.
Ashley Walker, aged 25, formerly of Highway Grove in Clifton, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit blackmail and possession of crack cocaine with intent supply, after the Class A drug was found during a search of his home: Four-and-a-half years.
Curtis Matthews, aged 23, formerly of Dungannon Road in Clifton, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit blackmail: A year and eight months.
EMSOU Detective Inspector, Richard Bull, who led the investigation, said: “The victim endured a terrifying ordeal, which included a sustained physical assault and the fear that family members would be harmed. In fact he, his father and other relatives are still trying to come to terms with what happened and live in constant fear of it happening again.
“The offenders’ extensive planning meant our detectives were able to piece together a complete jigsaw of evidence clearly linking Blake and Simpson to the purchase of the tracking device and then to its use in readiness for the kidnapping.
“CCTV footage and phone analysis were essential in detecting this crime, underlining both the value that technology has in policing today and the skills required of detectives and investigators.
“The investigation conducted initially by Nottinghamshire Police and subsequently by EMSOU highlights our ability to work together and target our resources on the most significant risks to the public and remove them from our communities.”