Three men who carried out a brutal assault in a Rickmansworth restaurant were jailed for a total of 11 years today.

St Albans Crown Court heard how, on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 11, last year, the men forced their way into the Blue Fire Restaurant, in Moneyhill Parade, and viciously assaulted two men, seriously injuring one of them.

The court also heard how the men, Mehdi Zand, Francesco Zand and Mohammed Kashefi, all members of an alleged cult, had exacted a brutal revenge on their former friends after a bitter financial and personal dispute.

It was also claimed in court that Mr Kashefi, the owner of nearby Perfect Pizza, had previously swapped the restaurant’s credit card machine with his own – thus siphoning off any profits made.

Matters came to a head, however, when Blue Fire owner Rela Najafi changed the locks to his business, barring his former friends and business partners from the premises.

The following day, November 11, the three attackers, led by the large and powerful Francesco Zand, barged through the restaurant’s front door and viciously kicked and punched both Mr Najafi and employee Esfan Jamshidian, who required extensive facial reconstruction surgery after the attack.

At a lengthy sentencing hearing today, Judge Marie Catterson said she had no other option but to jail all three men, who had all pleaded guilty at an earlier date.

Francesco Zand, who admitted attacking Mr Jamshidian, was sentenced to seven years for one count of causing grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent and one count of attempted GBH with intent.

Kashefi, despite the pleas of his barrister, was also jailed for two years for his role in the fracas.

Mehdi Zand, 48, was sentenced to two years for violent disorder after the judge rejected his plea that he had not been responsible for what happened. On the contrary, she explained, Mr Zand had, in fact, influenced both men’s behaviour, who looked up to and respected him as the leader of a religious group, the World Movement of Yaad – of which both were members.

The World Movement of Yaad (WMY), based in Chipperfield, formerly boasted around 100 members, which had included Mr Najafi before he left in acrimonious circumstances.

Many other former WMY members were also in court to support both victims and denounce Mehdi Zand’s many spiritual claims, which include the ability to perform miracle cures on the sick.