2:52pm Friday 16th March 2012
Two violent kidnappers who abducted and tortured a former aide to the Queen Mother have been jailed for an indeterminate period because they pose such a serious risk to the public.
Martin Dias, 29, of Bowstead Court, and Derwin Ellis, 21, of Westbridge Road, both in Battersea, abducted Niall Hall on February 1 last year.
Mr Hall, 49, a former captain in the Irish Guards, was attacked by three men in Bridge Lane, Battersea, at 10.30pm.
A third defendant Arron Miller, 21, of Eccles Road, Battersea, had previously pleaded guilty to kidnapping and robbery.
Miller will be sentenced separately because his life was "at risk", said Judge Fergus Mitchell, from the other two defendants.
Dias and Ellis were given Indeterminate Public Protection (IPP) sentences which are intended to protect society from criminals regarded as too dangerous to be released when their original sentence has finished.
According to Judge Mitchell, sitting at Kingston Crown Court this morning, the IPP in this case was equivalent to a 16-year sentence for each defendant - meaning they will not be eligible for parole for at least eight years.
Mr Hall was parking his Land Rover Freelander when he was approached by the men, one of whom was brandishing a knife.
The father-of-three was driven to a lock-up garage in his own car, where gang members tied him up, stripped him and ran knives along his body.
His £1,000 watch and wallet were stolen, and he was forced to give out pin numbers to his bank cards.
Two attackers left the lock-up at 11.45pm and withdrew cash from his account.
After enduring a three-hour ordeal, Mr Hall was finally released in Cheyne Walk, Chelsea, at about 1.30am, while the defendants made off in his £18,000 car.
He managed to flag down some help and was taken to Chelsea Hospital.
They also stole a number of sentimental items, which have not been recovered, including a medal from the Queen and some cufflinks given to him by the Queen Mother.
The court heard how Mr Hall suffers from flashbacks and still has double vision because of the mental and physical injuries he sustained during the attack.
They were able to identify Miller after he used Mr Hall’s phone to make a call after the kidnapping.
Ellis was arrested on March 3 last year, while Dias was arrested the following day.
Speaking outside the court, Mr Hall said: "I take no pleasure in seeing people incarcerated for what is clearly a very long time.
"But I am please for the public at large and, in particular, the people of Battersea that some very dangerous mnen have been taken off the streets.
"The medal has a number on it but it will mostly likely not be seen again but these are material items and I am just pleased to be alive.
"This is the perfect opportunity however, to pay tribute to the police and diligence that they all put in.
"This comes at a time when it is popular to bash the police. We are enormously fortunate in this country to have such a dedicated and diligent police force."
Dias’s girlfriend, Kizzy Miller, 33, was accused of driving the men to the cashpoints, but was cleared on the orders of the judge due to a legal technicality.
A fifth defendant, Brian Gilbert, 19, was also cleared on the orders of the judge.
Detective inspector Darren Hassard, senior investigating officer from Wandsworth Robbery Squad said: "Mr Hall was subjected to a terrifying ordeal at the hands of these violent criminals and I am pleased with the result today.
"I hope this verdict will allow him to put this matter behind him and move on from this horrific episode.
"This group used serious violence and intimidation to extract bank details from the victim and I am glad they have been removed from the streets of London, which is a much safer place for their incarceration."
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