Men jailed for kidnap and torture of conman

TWO men, who kidnapped a conman at knifepoint and subjected him to a terrifying nine-hour ordeal during which he was tortured, have been jailed for a total of 14 years.

Farad Shabazz and Nathan Carty took the law into their own hands after Werner Serieux took �16,000 from Shabazz with a promise he could achieve a high return on it, but only gave him back �4,000, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

During his ordeal Mr Serieux was abducted at gunpoint from a cottage in Drinkstone, near Bury St Edmunds, punched in the face, tortured by having his fingers bent back in an attempt to break them and then driven to a flat in London where he was blindfolded, tied up and shut in a cupboard.

He eventually managed to escape after two men who were meant to be guarding him fell asleep and Mr Serieux knocked at a neighbour’s flat to raise the alarm.

Shabazz, 34, of Kilburn, and Carty, 25, of Stockwell, denied kidnap, false imprisonment, blackmail and having an imitation firearm with intent. After a seven-week trial Shabazz was convicted of all four charges and Carty was found guilty of the first three charges and not guilty of the firearm offence.

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Jailing Shabazz for eight years and Carty for six years, Judge Peter Fenn said: “This was and must have been a terrifying ordeal for Mr Serieux. He was in fear for his life at times.” He said CCTV footage of Mr Serieux’ escape from the flat which showed him frantically dashing from door to door of neighbouring flats while the two men who had been guarding him were looking for him showed how terrified he had been.

Judge Fenn said he was satisfied that Shabazz was one of the main organisers of the kidnapping and that Carty was a “hired hand”.

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A third defendant, Nukay Thwe, 36, of Oakington, near Cambridge, had denied kidnapping Mr Serieux and was found not guilty on the direction of Judge Fenn earlier in the trial.

During the trial the court heard that Mr Serieux was a self-confessed conman who had carried out a number of frauds on gullible individuals, including Shabazz and some of his acquaintances.

When Mr Serieux couldn’t find the money to pay investors who were expecting returns or give the investors their money back he sought refuge at a cottage in the grounds of The Old Rectory at Drinkstone, but one day as he was putting out a bag of rubbish he noticed Nathan Carty and another man standing near the cottage.

Mr Serieux was ordered to go with the men and when he refused he saw Shabazz walking towards him with what appeared to be a sawn-off shotgun.

After being forced into a car he was punched in the face and an attempt was made to break two of his fingers by bending them backwards.

He was then driven to London where he was threatened, blindfolded, tied up and at one stage shut in a cupboard. Demands for money were also made.

Colin Hart, for Shabazz, said his client accepted he faced a lengthy prison sentence. He said there was no evidence he had been armed with a real firearm and the injuries inflicted on Mr Serieux were not serious.

Nicola May, for Carty, said he was a “hired hand”.

After the men were sentenced, Det Insp Neil Luckett said Mr Serieux had been through a terrifying ordeal. “His decision to support a prosecution in difficult circumstances is testament to his courage and determination to see his attackers convicted.

“These types of offences are extremely rare, particularly in a safe county such as Suffolk, and those who are intent on using this level of violence to settle disputes should take note of the consequences of this type of behaviour,” he said.

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