Woodland torture gang have sentences increased

FOUR men who beat a journalism student with a hammer and threatened to bury him alive in Brede High Woods have had their jail sentences increased at the Court of Appeal.

Sam Simon, 21, invited friend Ben Hutchings, also 21, to play Grand Theft Auto at a house in Hastings, before meting out a ‘horrific and chilling’ attack.

He and brother Alex Simon, 18, with their friend Muhammet Yalcin, 20, tied Mr Hutchings up and gagged him.

They then kicked and beat their terrified victim with a hammer.

The kidnappers stuffed him into a body bag, loaded him into a car and were driven to Brede High Woods by 23-year-old Artur Oganesyan.

The thugs discussed raping the victim and burying him alive in the woods before assaulting him again.

They were sentenced to a total of 21 years imprisonment at Hove Crown Court in April but their ‘unduly lenient’ sentences were increased by Court of Appeal judges last Thursday (June 26).

Sam Simon, of Earl Street, Hastings, had his sentence increased from nine years to 13 years in prison with four years extended licence.

Alex Simon, also from Earl Street, saw his sentence increased from four years to seven years detention.

Yalcin, of Kenilworth Road, St Leonards, had his five year term increased to eight years detention while Oganesyan, of Stanley Road in Hastings, who was originally given two years, was sentenced to four years imprisonment.

Judge Lord Justice Davis said: “Having considered the facts of this particular case we take the view that each of these sentences was not simply lenient but unduly lenient.

“There were a number of significant aggravating features - the incident was prolonged and sustained, a group of people were involved and threats were made during the course of imprisonment not just that the victim would be killed but also raped.

“He was seriously assaulted with blows to the face using a hammer.

“All this was done in circumstances where demands were being made for money and there was significant degrading conduct.

“He was bound, placed in a bag and taken to woodland where inevitably he would have feared for his life.

“All this took place at night time.”

He added: “We are in no doubt that this court must interfere.”

Ben Hutchings’ two-hour ordeal on September 19 last year ended when the men took him back to Hastings and released him into the street.

He suffered broken teeth, cuts and severe bruises and was treated at the Conquest Hospital.

Yalcin recorded part of the attack on his phone and Sam Simon can be heard saying: “I’m going to kill you, I may as well shoot you”.

As well as pleading guilty to false imprisonment, Sam Simon previously admitted two charges of possession with intent to supply a class A drug.