Handsome is as handsome does... L to R: Joseph Hadji, Jason Goode, Thijseen Johns Elliot, (bottom row, from the left) Ashanti Kumpati, Vigil Percival, and Paul Wigan
A ruthless gang has been convicted of kidnapping and torturing a friend of Lily Allen. The 25-year-old victim and his teenage friend feared they would be killed when they were seized at gunpoint before being subjected to a constant barrage of extreme mental and physical pain during their week-long ordeal.
The terrified pair were even forced to record desperate pleas for help on a dictaphone which was sent to their relatives along with demands for a £90,000 ransom. The hostages, who cannot be named, were found in a dramatic rescue when cops swooped on the gang's strong-hold. They were found handcuffed behind their backs dressed in plastic bin bags and stuffed in the boot of a car.
Judge John Price said the men face a long time in prison, he said: 'They are going to be very, very substantial prison sentences for a vile and cruel crime.' Shortly after the rescue in August last year the pop star publicly thanked police for saving her pals when she appeared on stage at a gig.
The hostages had been told they were about to be freed but feared the worst as they were stripped and scrubbed to remove traces of DNA before being led to the waiting car and ordered to lay down in the boot.
CCTV footage played in court showed Allen's friend and his 18-year-old companion confronted by six well-built men who walked into the sports shop where the pair worked in Ladbroke Grove. Guns were held to their head as the gang threatened to shoot them, beat them and drag them out of the store and into the boot of a waiting car.
The hostages were kept in the gang's stronghold - a house in a quiet cul-de-sac in Thamesmead, south east London. Gangsters repeatedly threatened to kill them, fed them just once a day and kept them handcuffed with tape over their eyes for almost seven days. Laughing gang members kicked them while they were on the floor and one day they had to lay face down on what they believed were electrical wires sticking in their backs.
Another time they were forced to watch a sickening DVD depicting torture and sadism which was played on a loop for the entire day. During the trial the jury were told the gang may have targeted the pair because the 18-year-old's brother was believed to be a drug dealer with access to large sums of money.
He handed over £20,000 in cash, but called police when he received demands for a further £70,000. Cops swooped after staking out the hide-out - a house rented by gang member Ashanti Kumpati, 28, Thamesmead, south east London, and spotted the two hostages being bundled into a car in the early hours.
Kompati and Paul Wigan, 29, from Catford, south east London, both pleaded guilty to false imprisonment and blackmail at an earlier hearing. Joseph Hadji, 27, of Queen's Park, west London, admitted two counts of kidnap and one count of blackmail.
Jason Goode, 27, of Hither Green, south east London, was convicted of two counts of false imprisonment and cleared of a charge of blackmail. Thijseen Johns-Elliott, 28, of Sydenham, south London, was found guilty of two counts of false imprisonment and one of blackmail.
Virgil Percival, 36, of Stoke Newington, north London, was convicted of kidnap and blackmail. They will be sentenced on October 12. Police say five other members of the kidnap gang are still at large.
Full Daily Mail story...