Two men jailed for London killing of popular Turkish DJ Mehmet Koray Alpergin

Mr Alpergin was found in Essex woodland with 94 injuries to his body

Mehmet Koray Alpergin. Metropolitan Police / PA
Powered by automated translation

Two men were jailed on Tuesday for kidnapping and killing a popular radio DJ in an empty bar near Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

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

The couple were taken to a wine bar backing on to White Hart Lane, where Mr Alpergin, 43, a father of two, was “tortured to death”.

A post-mortem examination found evidence that 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.

His body was dumped in Essex woodland and Ms Dalbudak, 34, spent two days locked in a toilet before being freed by her captors and given money for a taxi.

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 kidnapping and false imprisonment of the couple and Mr Alpergin’s manslaughter.

Samuel Owusu-Opoku, 35, was found guilty of two counts of kidnapping, while Steffan Gordon, 34, had admitted to kidnapping 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 to the charge.

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

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

Ms Whitehouse 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”.

“They were attacked by a group of males and bundled into the back of a van," she said.

“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 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 October 15, 2022.

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

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

She accused the defendants of trying 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.

“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 to perverting the course of justice, was sentenced to two years.

Updated: December 13, 2023, 5:26 AM