A gang who tortured a friend and dumped him in a body bag have had their “unduly lenient” sentences increased by a total of 12 years.

The Court of Appeal judges earlier today revised the sentences handed to Sam Simon, Alex Simon, Artur Oganesyan and Muhammet Yalcin by judges at Hove Trial Centre for false imprisonment in April.

Some members of the gang who tied up and attacked University of Brighton student Ben Hutchings with a hammer in September last year have seen their sentences double.

Mr Hutchings told The Argus in March this year that he feared for his life during the three hour ordeal in a Hastings home and Brede High Woods.

The 21-year-old, who suffered broken teeth, cuts and severe bruises in the attack, was lured to Sam Simon’s home with the promise of playing computer game Grand Theft Auto.

Instead he was subjected to real-life violence as the gang of four set about recouping an alleged debt.

The Court of Appeal revised the sentence of Sam Simon, of Earl Street in Hastings, to ten years for false imprisonment from an original sentence of six years with an additional three years for possession with intent to supply a Class A drug.

Alex Simon, also of Earl Street, had his original sentence of four years at a Young Offenders’ Institution increased to seven years while Artur Oganesyan, of Stanley Road, Hastings, had his sentence doubled to four years.

Muhammet Yalcin, of Kenilworth Road in Hastings, will now serve eight years in a Young Offenders’ Institution for false imprisonment after his original sentence of five years was revised.

Solicitor General Oliver Heald QC MP, who referred the case to the Court Of Appeal, said: “What happened to Mr Hutchings was nothing less than a terrifying ordeal.

“For three hours he suffered threats, sustained blows from a hammer and was placed on top of a body bag.

“I asked the Court of Appeal to look again at these sentences as I felt the level of violence and fear that the victim was subjected to, merited a higher prison term and I am satisfied that these increased terms reflect the appalling nature of the attack.”

The fifth man pictured, 27-year-old Jowed Ghemati, of Holmhurst Lane in St Leonards, was not involved in the attack on Mr Hutchings but was jailed fo a year for witness intimidation for offering Mr Hutchings £5,000 to drop the case.

His sentence was not reviewed today.


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