Life sentence for two men who kidnapped, tortured and killed father in Kilburn hostel

Ferell Benjamin, a secret drug dealer, was snatched from his home on the Grahame Park estate

Two men who kidnapped a father-of-two before taking him to a Kilburn hostel where he was tortured and beaten to death have been jailed for life.

Craig Smith, 23, and Tex Crawford, 21, snatched Ferell Benjamin from his home in the Grahame Park estate in Barnet, and took him to the hostel in Burton Road, where he was killed.

The Old Bailey heard detectives investigating Mr Benjamin’s murder discovered he was leading a secret life as a class A drug dealer who went by the street names ‘Kingy’ or ‘Blacks.

Taheika Campbell, 22,the cousin of Mr Benjamin’s partner Carlene Wellington, had let Smith, Crawford, her new boyfriend Mustafa Ali and a fourth unidentified man into the victim’s home on November 14, 2010.

They took Campbell and Mr Benjamin’s children upstairs, tied up the victim with tape and searched the house for drugs and money before bundling him into the boot of his own car and taking him to the hostel.

Ms Wellington and others continuously called Mr Benjamin’s phones but their calls almost all went to voicemail.

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However, Ms Wellington did receive one call from her partner’s phone where someone who she thought didn’t sound like him told her ‘I owe someone some money. I’m alright, meet me at the house in 20 minutes’.

A friend who listened to the voice thought it did sound like him.

Mr Benjamin’s body was discovered in the hostel’s communal toilet the next day.

He had been stripped naked except for his boxer shorts, and had been tortured before he was killed.

His back had been severely scalded by boiling water and he had died from head injuries.

Blood spattered on the walls around where he lay and pools of blood on the floor beneath him showed that he had been attacked in the toilet.

Samuel Prime-Fearon, of Pound Lane, Willesden, who lived at the hostel at the time had denied letting the gang in.

He was acquitted of murder, manslaughter and false imprisonment.

Today (Monday), Smith and Crawford were jailed for life with a minimum tariff of 21 years for Mr Benjamin’s murder.

Smith, of no fixed address, was also sentenced to 12 years for conspiracy to rob; eight years for kidnap and five years for false imprisonment.

Crawford, from Mitcham, Surrey, was further jailed for 10 years for conspiracy to rob; eight years for kidnap and five years for false imprisonment.

Both men will serve their sentences concurrently.

Campbell, from Harrow, was jailed for eight years after being found guilty of conspiracy to rob.

The hunt is on to find Ali who led the country and the mystery fourth man

Detective Inspector Julian King, who led the murder hunt, said: “Ferell Benjamin was subjected to the most violent torture before being left to die.

“He leaves behind a loving partner and two young children. These men and woman had no regard for him in their desire to obtain his property at any cost.

“The Met will relentlessly pursue people of violence and bring them before court to face the consequences no matter what part they paid.”