LONDON—A DJ who owned a popular radio station in London was kidnapped, "horrifically tortured" and then murdered by a group of "sadistic thugs" after taking his Turkish girlfriend out for a meal in Mayfair, a jury has been told.
Five men went on trial on Wednesday for the kidnap and murder of Mehmet Koray Alpergin, whose body was found near Oakwood Hill industrial estate in Loughton, Essex on the morning of Oct. 15, 2022.
Ali Kavak, 26, Junior Kettle, 32, Steffan Gordon, 34, Tejean Kennedy, 32, and Samuel Owusu-Opoku, 29, all deny murdering Mr. Alpergin. The same five men deny falsely imprisoning Mr. Alpergin, who was 43, and his girlfriend Gözde Dalbudak, 33, while Mr. Kavak, Mr. Kettle, Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Owusu-Opoku deny kidnap.
Erdogan Ulcay, 56, denies attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Prosecutor Crispin Aylett KC said it was believed the crime was linked to the world of drugs.
He told the jury Mr. Alpergin and Ms. Dalbudak, 33, were abducted after they arrived back at his home in Enfield, north London, after their date.
Mr. Aylett said Ms. Dalbudak survived her ordeal and later told police Mr. Alpergin was ambushed by four men as he got out of his Audi car and was "frog-marched" towards a white van. She said a man with a knife then forced her to join her boyfriend in the van.
Two Suspects Have Fled AbroadMr. Aylett said two of the kidnappers, who he named as Ali Yildrim and Cem Orman, had fled the country and were believed to be overseas, and the identity of the eighth and ninth man was unknown to the police.
He said the gang brought Mr. Alpergin—a popular Turkish Cypriot DJ who owned the Bizim FM radio station—back to a wine bar and restaurant in north London called the Stadium Lounge, near Tottenham Hotspur's football ground, where he was murdered.
'Sadistic Thugs'Mr. Aylett said: "From the number and nature of the injuries that were sustained, the prosecution suggests that it is not hard to envisage a group of sadistic thugs taking it turns to inflict injury, whether with punches and kicks, hitting him with a bat, scalding him with boiling water, stabbing his feet."
He said Mr. Alpergin had been "stripped naked and horrifically tortured."
"The only mercy, if mercy it be, was that the pathologist considers that Koray Alpergin could not have survived these terrible injuries for very long and certainly not for more than a few hours," Mr. Aylett added.
Mr. Aylett said it is believed killers had links with "serious, organised crime, almost certainly drugs" and he said: "The prosecution allege that Koray Alpergin was kidnapped and tortured either so that he might be punished for something that he had done or else forced to give up something that he knew—perhaps, the whereabouts of either drugs or money—and which his kidnappers also wanted to know."
Girlfriend Released After 48 Hours in ToiletMr. Aylett said: "As for Godze Dalbudak, she spent almost two days shut up inside a lavatory at the Stadium Lounge. It was not until the late afternoon of Saturday, October 15 that she was released."
The prosecutor said Ms. Dalbudak said the man who released her warned her not to look at him or go to the police.
Mr. Aylett: "Knowing no one in London and speaking very little English, she remembered the name of Mehmet Kocakerim’s restaurant, Mem and Luz. She took a taxi to the restaurant."
She had been to the restaurant a few days earlier with Mr. Alpergin but Mr. Kocakerim said he did not recognise her.
"From the state of her, he thought that she was a homeless person who had come in to beg for food," Mr. Aylett told the jury.
The prosecutor said she then borrowed his phone to call her family in Turkey who were clearly "very distressed."
Mr. Aylett said Ms. Dalbudak said to Mr. Kocakerim, “You don’t recognise me, do you?”
He admitted he did not and she identified herself as being Alpergin's girlfriend.
Key Witness Refusing to TestifyThe prosecutor said Ms. Dalbudek gave a full account of what had happened to her to the police but then returned to Turkey and has refused to give evidence either in person or on a videolink.
"For perfectly understandable reasons, you may think, she wants to put the whole thing behind her," said Mr. Aylett, who said the court had no power to force a foreign national in a foreign country to testify.
Mr. Aylett told the jury Gordon had pleaded guilty to two counts of kidnap and Mr. Owusu-Opuku had admitted perverting the course of justice. Another man, Yigit Hurman, 18, has also pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.
The trial is due to last until the end of November.