Deaf St Albans man handed over £4K after stabbing threats

Kestuts Grigaitis, 27, of Almond Road, Tottenham, was imprisoned after his involvement in burglaries

Kestuts Grigaitis, 27, of Almond Road, Tottenham, was imprisoned after his involvement in burglaries in Harpenden, Cuffley and Knebworth - Credit: Archant

A deaf St Albans man was threatened into handing over more than £4,000 for fear he would be “stabbed, killed and put in the ground”.

The 38-year-old victim was forced into giving two other deaf men the cash after they learned he had just received an inheritance, St Albans Crown Court heard.

Emrah Gencer, who was going out with the man’s former girlfriend, persuaded his friend Dean Stanley to contact the man via Facebook to arrange a meeting.

Gencer, whom the victim did not know, posed on Facebook making a pistol action in a gangster pose with the title: Emrah ‘Mad Lazy’ Gencer.

Prosecutor David Chrimes said Stanley told the victim that Gencer and others from London were threatening to harm him because he had said things about them.

He said: “This was an exploitative, manipulative and despicable offence on a vulnerable man.

“He was under severe threat and was told he would be stabbed, killed and put in the ground if he did not pay £4,000.”

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He added that the victim, who works in St Albans, was “petrified” and withdrew £2,000 from Nationwide in the city centre which he then handed over, and withdrew another £2,000 and £250 from another bank.

He then told his mother and the police were informed.

Stanley, 28, of The Paddocks in Colney Heath, was arrested locally and Gencer,26, of Bregard Road in London N19, a few days later, after being traced through Facebook.

Stanley had put his share of the money in the bank, but the court heard how Gencer had gone on a spending spree in Reading where he bought luxury items, including an Xbox.

Gencer and Stanley both pleaded guilty to blackmail with menaces to obtain £4,250 between November 27 and 30, 2013.

Gencer had initially pleaded not guilty, but changed his plea.

Judge John Plumstead told Stanley he was guilty of “a piece of greed and betrayal of a friend.”

He said that as a fellow member of the deaf community he knew the victim would be easily intimidated and an easy target.

Stanley was given a nine month sentence suspended for two years, ordered him to carry out 70 hours’ unpaid work and pay £300 compensation.

Alex Britton, representing Stanley who works as a scrap metal dealer, said he had already paid back his share of £1950.

He said: “He apologises and wants the victim to know he feels terrible.”

Turning to Gencer, Judge Plumstead said he had intimidated a fellow member of the deaf community “who was someone (he) should be in empathy with.”

He ordered him to pay the £1,000 within 7 days and a further £300 compensation within the next three months.

He was given an 18 month sentence suspended for two years with a six month electronically-monitored curfew, which mean he must stay in between 10pm and 4am.

Andel Singh, representing Gencer, said he was profoundly deaf and would find it difficult to cope in prison.

Both men were ordered not to go within 25 metres of the victim.

Items Gencer bought on his shopping trip to Reading are to be sold, with the proceeds to be given to the victim.