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Bodybag torture victim slams 'lenient' 21-year jail sentence for his attackers
A student who was tortured and dumped in a body bag has spoken after his attackers were jailed for 21 years.
University of Brighton journalism student Ben Hutchings, 21, said he thought he was “going to die” when he was attacked with a hammer, tied up with electrical cables, partially stripped, dumped in a body bag and driven to woodland.
And he said he was not happy with the sentencing handed down at Hove Crown Court.
“I was told about what happened straight away and I think they should have been jailed for longer,” he said.
“I thought I was going to die.
"However, I am relieved knowing they are not around my area. My family are happy too.”
Sam Simon, 21, of Earl Street, Hastings, was jailed for six years for the attack plus three years for drugs offences, Alex Simon, 17, of Earl Street, Hastings, was jailed for four years, Muham Muhammet "Melik" Yalcin, 20, of Kenilworth Road, St Leonards, was jailed for five years, and Artur Oganesyan, 23, of Stanley Road, Hastings, was jailed for two years.
All were convicted of or admitted false imprisonment.
Jowed Ghemati, 27, of Holmhurst Lane, St Leonards, who was not involved in the attack on Mr Hutchings but subsequently visited him at home in Hastings and offered him £5,000 to drop the case, was jailed for one-year after being convicted of witness intimidation.
The court was told Ghemati was shouted down by Mr Hutchings’ landlady, Caroline Sussex, who told him she was from Hackney and would not stand for his nonsense.
Mr Hutchings was lured to Sam Simon’s home with the promise of a game of Grand Theft Auto on their computer.
But on arriving at the house the men – intent on settling an alleged debt – launched the horrifying attack on Mr Hutchings.
After the hammer attack,tying him and taking him to woodland in the body bag the men discussed burying him.
The thugs also visited his girlfriend and made threats to her and afterwards he was so scared he wanted to leave Hastings.
Anthony Waller, defending Sam Simon, admitted: “Apart from his guilty plea there is little mitigation.”
Ben Kaplinski, defending Alex Simon, admitted it was a “brutal and outrageous crime”.
But he added the chemistry student was “not inherently criminal”.
Barry Myers, defending Oganesyan, said his involvement was in driving the group to and from the woods. “He is the least sophisticated,” he added.
Steve Wedd, defending Yalcin, said he had been “summoned by Sam Simon” and acted out of loyalty to him.
Recorder Dafydd Enoch QC, sentencing the five, said ringleader Sam Simon was “out-of-control”.
“He is not purely malevolent,” he said, before adding he believed he would offend again.
Describing Mr Hutchings, he said: “He thought he was going to die.
“He could have suffered a fractured skull. He could’ve bled to death.”
He described how his attackers said things during the attack including “I am going to torture you bruv” and “just kill him”.
He said Mr Hutchings must have felt “terror”.
Speaking afterwards, Detective Sergeant Michael Burnage said: “Sam Simon lured his friend to his home with the sole intention of torturing and robbing him.
“He was subjected to a horrific and sustained attack.
“The victim was left terrified he was going to be murdered.”
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