Pair who 'tortured to death' popular radio DJ while girlfriend was forced to listen jailed

By John Mercury December 13, 2023

Two men who kidnapped a popular radio DJ before torturing him to death in an empty London bar have been jailed.

Mehmet Koray Alpergin and his girlfriend Gozde Dalbudak were snatched as they returned home from an Italian restaurant in Mayfair, central London, in October 2022, the Old Bailey heard in a trial that ended last month.

They were taken to a wine bar, near the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium backing on to White Hart Lane, where 43-year-old Mr Alpergin was “tortured to death”.

A post-mortem found evidence he had been beaten with a baseball bat, scalded with boiling water and had the soles of his feet stabbed, while there was also bruising to his genitals.

The father-of-two’s body was dumped in Essex woodland, and 34-year-old Ms Dalbudak spent two days locked in a toilet before being freed by her captors and given money for a taxi.

 Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Image:
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium

Ms Dalbudak, who has since returned to her home in Turkey, recalled her boyfriend telling her “my love, don’t be scared” and “sorry, my love” before he cried out in pain as he was beaten.

Jurors found Tejean Kennedy, 33, and Ali Kavak, 26, guilty of the kidnap and false imprisonment of the couple and Mr Alpergin’s manslaughter.

Samuel Owusu-Opoku, 35, was found guilty of two counts of kidnap, while Steffan Gordon, 34, had admitted kidnap and was found guilty of two counts of false imprisonment.

Kavak was also convicted of perverting the course of justice by helping to dispose of Mr Alpergin’s body and destroying two vehicles by fire. Owusu-Opoku admitted the charge.

Two more suspects are still at large and are believed to have fled abroad.

‘Horrific’ killing linked to ‘international organised crime’

Judge Sarah Whitehouse KC told the Old Bailey drugs were “at the heart” of the case, referencing evidence by prosecutors that it was related to “international organised crime”.

She described Mr Alpergin’s death as a “horrific murder”, adding that if the defendants were convicted of that offence they would have received a life sentence with a minimum term of 30 years and “probably considerably higher”.

Describing the moment Mr Alpergin and his girlfriend were kidnapped, Judge Whitehouse said: “They were attacked by a group of males and bundled into the back of a van.

“Ms Dalbudak was locked in a lavatory. She was terrified and cold.

“That first night, Ms Dalbudak had to listen to the sound of Koray Alpergin being tortured and there was no doubt that he was tortured to death.”

Mr Alpergin, who was originally from northern Cyprus, was a well-known and popular figure in the British Turkish community.

He owned a Turkish language radio station in London, Bizim FM, and had in the past been pictured with celebrities from the worlds of high-end cuisine and rap.

Mr Alpergin’s naked body was found by a dog walker after being dumped in woods near Loughton in Essex on 15 October 2022.

He suffered 94 separate injuries to his body including cuts and bruises, broken ribs, a heavy blow to the head and strangulation marks to the neck.

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Killers a ‘danger to society’

Reading a statement on behalf of his family at the Old Bailey on Tuesday, Mr Alpergin’s cousin, Neliz Halil, spoke of their “indescribable pain” and the “brutality” of his death.

She accused the defendants of attempting to “escape the consequences of their heinous actions” and “tarnish (Koray’s) character”, describing his killers as a “danger to society”.

Mr Alpergin’s parents had not smiled since his death and his father had suffered two strokes and a heart attack because of the “pain of losing his son”, Ms Halil told the court.

She added: “How can you tell your children about the barbaric torture their uncle experienced?”

Prosecutor Peter Ratliff, reading a statement by Mr Alpergin’s former wife, said his son had been unable to sleep and suffered “visions of the violence committed” against his father.

Judge Whitehouse sentenced Kavak, from Tottenham, to 13 years’ imprisonment and Kennedy, of Cricklewood Broadway, to 20 years.

Gordon, of Northolt, was sentenced to eight years and Owusu-Opoku, of Wood Green, to seven years’ imprisonment

Yigit Hurman, 18, from Muswell Hill, north London, who admitted perverting the course of justice, was sentenced to two years.

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