Gang who kidnapped and tortured man were scuppered by helicopter testing search lights

A victim of a gang of thugs who kidnapped and tortured him was saved by stroke of fortune after a passing helicopter scared the criminals away.

Jade Bowen, the final member of the group of five who kidnapped the man, was sentenced on September 11 to three years and nine months in prison in Woolwich Crown Court.

The court heard that at about 11:45pm on April 19, 2017, the 22-year-old victim was kidnapped at knifepoint in Plumstead by a group of four men and Bowden.

He was wrongly suspected by the group of having stolen £30,000 to £40,000 of crack cocaine and heroin from a drugs safe house in Gilbourne Road, Plumstead.

The gang wanted their drugs back and violently attacked the kidnapped victim with a knife, as he was driven to a remote rural location in Southfleet, Kent.

Once in Kent, the man was beaten, tortured, robbed and stabbed by his captors in agricultural fields after midnight.

The victim’s ordeal came to an end through pure good fortune when the Kent, Sussex and Surrey Air Ambulance helicopter flew over the fields testing its search light ahead of a response to an unrelated road traffic collision a mile away.

The group who had kidnapped the man mistook the Air Ambulance for police activity related to their actions.

They panicked and scrambled to get away, allowing the victim to run away into the darkness, and seek assistance.

The victim was treated in hospital for serious stab wounds to the hands, and is yet to fully recover from his injuries.

Bowden pleaded guilty to being the driver of the car used to kidnap the victim on the first day of her trial.

Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Service investigated the kidnapping and located a drugs factory and a substantial amount of crack cocaine at an address in Plumstead.

Detectives identified and arrested Bowden and the four men after communication between them was established, proving they were in contact with each other, placing them at key locations in London and in Kent. Another man was arrested for perverting the course of justice.

Five of the defendants were sentenced in December 2017 and January 2018; Bowden was sentenced in September 2018 as above.

Detective Constable Andrew Payne said: “This latest and final conviction closes what has been an exhaustive and challenging investigation into an organised crime group, who committed a vicious and sustained attack on the victim. It was a brutal attack committed in an isolated field in the Kent countryside.

“Lengthy custodial sentences have been imposed, totalling over 40 years. I wish to praise the Crown Prosecution Service, trial counsel and the extended investigation team for the significant work that was done in this complex investigation.”


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