Harlesden man jailed for kidnap, firearm and drug offences loses appeal against life sentence

Clayton McKenzie has lost his appeal

Clayton McKenzie has lost his appeal - Credit: Archant

A Harlesden man jailed for life for his part in a kidnapping and police car chase, during which shots were fired at officers, has failed in a bid to convince top judges he is not ‘highly dangerous’.

Clayton McKenzie, of High Street, was found guilty of kidnap, carrying a firearm with criminal intent, possessing a Class A drug, possessing a firearm and causing actual bodily harm to kidnap victim, Adriatik Berisha.

The 37-year-old was jailed for life at St Albans Crown Court in May last year alongside his partner in crime, David Rhoden, 29, of Flowers Close, Neasden, who was convicted of the same charges.

McKenzie was ordered to serve at least six years behind bars.

Yesterday McKenzie challenged his life sentence at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, with his lawyers arguing it was not the right punishment for a man with no previous convictions and said the judge did not have enough evidence to make the finding he did about his level of involvement in drug dealing.

Dismissing the appeal, Mrs Justice Swift said the sentence was entirely appropriate given the serious and violent nature of the crimes.

Sitting with Lord Justice Beatson and Mr Justice Globe, she added: “Given the appellant’s involvement in a violent kidnap, during which a loaded pistol was used, it is difficult to see how it can be said that the judge was wrong to find the appellant was dangerous.”

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Jurors had heard the pair kidnapped Mr Berisha in St Albans in November 2013, bundling him into the back of the silver Peugeot being driven by McKenzie.

Rhoden fired at least five shots at the officer who chased him.

A search of the area around the abandoned car uncovered a Webley revolver, a Colt pistol and cocaine with a street value of about £20,000.

Related link: Brent duo who kidnapped man in Hertfordshire and shot after police are jailed