This story is any parents worse nightmare, the dreaded possibility their child is not coming home tonight, the mind races through every potential scenario, this is the torment a London family were put through last year alongside 358 other families in the city.
That is the number of people who were kidnapped in London last year, according to figures released by the Metropolitan police recently. The Met has created a “Specialist kidnap unit‘ to deal with the increase – it is the only police force in the UK that does.
This case has just emerged from Kingston crown court in London and involves an investigation into the kidnap of a 17 year old boy on 12 June 2022,
The teenager was due to take his GCSE tests on the day he was abducted after leaving his family home earlier in the day.
Aftrer growing increasingly concerned on the 12th June the kidnap was reported to the police by a family member.
The confusion grew as this was out of character for the teen to disappear and the lack of answers added to his mother’s fear he may have come to harm.
Unbeknownst to his family the boy had been taken to a unknown address by 3 males and told he was to be held for ransom.
The victim was slapped across the eye by one of the attakcers which left him with a blood shot eye.
They also made threats of violence against the victim and threatened to use a knife.
During the kidnap he was taken to an abandoned van for a period of time before being returned to the flat and kept overnight.
The family of the victim then received a number of calls from 9 different numbers demanding money in exchange for the victim’s safe return.
A tense series of negotiations unfolded with the initial ransom demand being £50,000.
The family explained they couldn’t obtain this much cash so soon and the kidnappers threatened to cut off fingers of they didn’t comply with their demands.
Eventually it was agreed that 5k would be paid to the kidnapper near to West Kensington train station.
The money was delivered and the teenager was released after at 22:00pm the next day.
The family knew their son had gone to meet someone they believed was a family friend but it turned out they had bad blood with the victims brother.
The only kidnapper to be identified was Ryan Bivand who believed he was owed money by the brother of the victim in relation to a drugs line they allegedly ran before Ryan went to prison.
The police determined he was kidnapped for this reason in an attempt to extort the child’s family.
Ryan was was arrested shortly after this money was handed over.
Ryan Bivand pleaded guilty to Counts 1 & 2 – Kidnap and Blackmail on the first day of Trial.
A Female co-defendant represented by Miriam Altaf (solicitor) who was able to prove her clients innocence and was acquitted of Kidnap and False Imprisonment after Trial.
The Judge said,
“The victim who was a Youth was 17 at the time, there were a long series of demand calls
The figures are relatively severe but this is a serious offence.
It does not involve torture but bears the hallmarks of what is a blackmail and kidnap scenario.”
“The offence was completed just after the defendant completed a suspended sentence for the possession of a knife
A number of previous that include violence and dishonesty”
The Defence said “Man B” who was never identified made the first telephone calls. Those weren’t made by Mr Bivand.
The Judge remarked during sentencing:
” Your client then took over where this young man aged 17 was being detained.”
The Judge considered this was a joint enterprise.
Both of the other men left half way in to the ransom kidnap and Mr Bivand continued the kidnap and was playing an equal role with the other two men. It was a scheme that they set up to extract the money from the victim’s family.
It was accepted by the victim that Mr Bivand offered him no violence and offered to treat him well.
The Defence said during the sentencing hearing:
- BIVAND did not wear a balaclava/disguised and used his own phone. Consequently there was no way that Mr Bivand was not going to be held responsible for this.
- He is known to the victim and the family. The other two men have never been identified and will not be tried or punished.
- The totality of the weight and offence against the victim lies solely on the defendant.
The Judge said that Ryan only has himself to blame.
The Defence then said:
- half of the money was retained by Mr Bivand.
- Half of the money was given to one of the other men.
- They got into the car together.
- The other two males remain unidentified.
Ryan Bivand (26) was sentenced for kidnapping on 13.6.22.
He pled guilty to Blackmail – 11 – 14 June 2022, when he made unwarranted demands for money.
The Judge said during sentencing,
“Normally you wouldn’t be entitled to any credit but I have decided to give you some latitude in relation to that and will give you 10% pleas of guilty which I consider to be significant mitigation to your case
You will be sentenced concurrently as the kidnapping is the serious offence in this case”
“These offences occurred between 12th and 13th June last year when you and 2 others extracted a plan to kidnap a 17 year old to extract money from his family due to a debt owed by his family member. All 3 of you were determined to extract money from his brother.
During the time you held the victim, you threatened to hurt him and anther male threatened to send the victim’s fingers through the post. That demand sum went from 50k to 10k to 5k
You enticed the victim to the address with the promise of a trip out to eat.
He knew you already as you knew his family members. He did not suspect any foul play.
You then started to act aggressively.
One of the men you were with, threatened the victim with the knife and you took his phone to stop him from accessing social media and communicating with others.
You held him in a house and demanded payment in cash in exchange for not hurting the young victim.
You moved the victim to an abandoned van somewhere at one stage.
You then returned to the house and kept the victim there overnight.
The victim felt that he couldn’t leave due to another man being there.
You told the victim that he if he complied he would not be harmed.
You asked a female to drive the victim around for several hours
You slapped him across the face and caused a bloodshot eye
You repeatedly called the victim’s brother, you were unaware that he had contacted the police at a very early stage and was being given instructions by police officers.
The second man that was with you said he didn’t want to do this anymore and left
You carried on and starting using different sim cards to contact the victim’s brother.
It was greed that 5k would be delivered to you
You and the other 2 were exercising in a joint enterprise.
You were each responsible equally,
You were not playing any lesser role, you were playing an equal role
There was significant planning and threats of violence to the victim, victim was only 17 at the time. He has expressed shock and exhaustion.
His family were fearful of his safety and feared that he would be harmed.
The whole incident caused the family stress and trauma.
You have previous convictions for robbery and possession of knives and pwits in 2016, but I have not treated any of them as aggravating
No sentencing guidelines for kidnap.
This is not a case where I will consider dangerousness. It is clear from case law that sentences for offences of this nature regardless of violence, all warrant a starting point of double figures.
AG ref cases involve hostage taking and demands for ransom will attract 16 year starting point.
The sentences will run concurrently, had you not pleaded guilty you would have faced 10 years imprisonment.”
- 9 years kidnap.
- 7 years blackmail
- Restraining order
A sentence of that length means that you will not be released until you have served 2/3 of that sentence.
In 2021/22 there were 6,905 kidnapping offences recorded by the police in England and Wales, an increase when compared with the previous year. Incidents of kidnapping reached a low of 1,388 offences in 2012/13 but have been increasing in every year since then.
A London problem
A similar case covered on the channel 3 years ago was that of Isaac Donkoh, aka Young Dizz – a gang member and drill music artist from Beckton, Newham, east London, he was sentenced on Friday at Snaresbrook Crown Court along with four accomplices – two 16-year-old boys and two 14-year-old boys.
All five defendants admitted or were found guilty of kidnap, false imprisonment, GBH and a number of other offences.
Donkoh enlisted the help of one of the 16-year-old defendants who knew the victim and on the night 2 August 2018, the teenager made contact with him and suggested they meet in Barking.
The victim turned up as agreed and Donkoh and the four other youths pulled up in a dark blue Ford Mondeo.
The victim told the court that at this point “I thought they were probably gonna kill me”.