A Watford man was among nine gangsters jailed for a total of 116 years after victims were kidnapped, imprisoned and tortured with knives.

Micaiah Marley, 30, was sentenced to 15 years in prison, plus four years extended sentence, after being convicted of kidnap, false imprisonment, and blackmail. 

Fortune Lawson, 27, from Cardiff, ran the band of thugs who kidnapped one of their victims outside his home in London in November 2018 after he was seen wearing a Rolex watch in a Snapchat photograph.

He was lured into meeting Lawson on the pretence of discussing cannabis, but was instead subjected to a “terrifying” ordeal that lasted eight hours and included being stabbed and having boiling water poured on his abdomen and groin.

The victim was forced to arrange for money and the Rolex to be handed over before being released.

He spent five days in hospital with “grave” injuries and had to undergo surgery three months later.

In December 2020, Lawson struck again, this time in Cardiff, kidnapping another victim, Ledio Ibrahimi, on the pretence of smoking cannabis together.

Instead, he took him to a flat in the city and waterboarded and beat him and threatened him with guns and knives and an “attack dog”.

Mr Ibrahimi was forced to call a friend to arrange for £50,000 to be handed over, but the friend called South Wales Police to report a “life or death situation” and unbeknownst to the kidnappers, hostage negotiators were monitoring phone calls.

The case has been described as one of the UK’s most complicated kidnap investigations.

At Cardiff Crown Court, Mr Ibrahimi said: “The police saved my life. I don’t believe I would have been alive unless the police came that day.

“I’m 100% sure. I don’t know what the reason they wanted me dead, but I’m 100% sure I would not be alive."

Convicted of kidnap, false imprisonment, and blackmail were:

  • Micaiah Marley, 30, from Watford. Sentenced to 15 years in prison plus four years extended sentence.
  • Fortune Lawson, 27. Sentenced to 25 years plus five years extended sentence.
  • Davood Assadopour, 32, from Harrow, London. Sentenced to 15 years in prison plus four years extended sentence.
  • Arnold Fumumeya, 27, from Harrow, London. Sentenced to 13 years in prison plus three years extended sentence.
  • Alexis Mutesa, 27, from Brent, London. Sentenced to 13 years in prison plus three years extended sentence.
  • Gideon Lawson, 24, from London. Sentenced to 12 years in prison plus three years extended sentence.
  • Ahmed Omar, 29, from Mitcham, Surrey. Sentenced to nine years in prison.
  • Also, Denis Delishaj, 24, from Harrow, London, convicted of blackmail. Sentenced to eight years in prison, plus eight months for possession of an illicit phone while in prison awaiting trial.
  • Stephen Isaac, 66, from Hemel Hempstead, convicted of kidnap and false imprisonment. Sentenced to six years.

During the investigation weapons including six knives, five live rounds of ammunition, a handgun, a grenade smoke bomb, and a taser disguised as a mobile telephone were seized.

Detectives recovered more than 400 hours of CCTV from across five police force areas and took more than 1,000 statements.

Detective Superintendent Darren George, head of South Wales Police Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “Kidnap and the criminal use of firearms in South Wales is extremely rare and when they do happen, as this Organised Crime Group have found out, we are determined to go after those involved.

“This has been one of the UK’s most complicated kidnap investigations in recent times and it has taken nearly three years to convict these nine individuals.

“We hope our investment into this crime and sentences handed down send a clear message to those intent on bringing this sort of violence to our streets.

“We will relentlessly pursue you with everything at our disposal and you will go to jail.”