A GANG of men who tied up a student and beat him with a hammer before threatening to bury him alive in Brede High Woods, have been convicted.
Sam Simon lured the 21-year-old victim, who was a friend of his, to a house in East Street, Hastings, before he, his brother Alex Simon and their friend Muhammet Yalcin tied the student up, gagged him and then punched, kicked and beat him with a hammer.
They then stuffed him into a body bag, loaded him into a car and were driven to Brede High Wood by Artur Oganesyan where they all discussed burying the student alive before they assaulted him again.
The two-hour ordeal on 19 September ended when the men took their terrified victim back to Hastings and released him in the street.
The 21-year-old suffered broken teeth, cuts and severe bruises and had to be treated at Conquest Hospital.
Officers quickly arrested Alex Simon, Yalcin and Oganesyan and within a few days Sam Simon had also been arrested.
After the first arrests, Jowad Ghemati approached the victim and offered him thousands of pounds to drop the case.
At Hove Crown Court today Sam Simon, 21, of Earl Street, Hastings pleaded guilty to false imprisonment.
Alex Simon, 17, of Earl Street, Hastings, was convicted of false imprisonment.
Muhammet “Melik” Yalcin, 20, of Kenilworth Road, St Leonards, was convicted of false imprisonment.
Artur Oganesyan, 23, of Stanley Road, Hastings, was convicted of false imprisonment.
Jowad Ghemati, 27, of Holmhurst Lane, St Leonards, was convicted of witness intimidation.
They were all remanded in custody to be sentenced at the court on 14 April.
Detective Sergeant Michael Burnage said: “The suspects attacked the victim because they decided they could get money from him quickly and easily.
“They have shown no remorse for their actions and despite the weight of evidence against them, made the victim relive the horrendous event again in court.
“The victim’s ordeal was made worse by Ghemati’s blatant attempt to intimidate him so that he would not give evidence - a mistake which has now cost Ghemati dear as well.
“We would like to thank the victim, the witnesses who attended court and the CPS for supporting this investigation.
“Incidents like this are very rare in Sussex.
“We will not tolerate any attempt to intimidate witnesses or prevent justice being done and will take action to prosecute those responsible.”