Daily Mail (London), May 21, 2010
A ‘barbaric’ robber who took part in the rape and torture of a young couple in their own home was jailed indefinitely today.
Gavin Gordon, 31, a drug addict who has a string of convictions for violence dating back more than ten years, was part of a gang that raped a 26-year-old woman in her home in Clapham, south London, while her boyfriend screamed as he was tortured in the next room.
The woman was leaving her flat shortly after midnight on October 26, 2008, when several men approached her and demanded money, police said.
They covered her head and forced her back inside her flat, where they made her text her boyfriend and ask him to come over.
When he arrived, they tied his hands with his belt and tortured him, wrapping computer cable around his throat, pressing a hot iron against his forehead and thigh, and rubbing lemon juice and bleach into his injuries.
He was also repeatedly kicked and punched.
The woman was forced to perform sex acts and repeatedly raped as she heard her boyfriend screaming in the next room.
The gang later escaped with an Audi A3 and a Golf GTI, a black Skype 3G mobile phone, a black Nokia mobile phone, £300 in cash and keys.
Gordon, of no fixed address, was found guilty of robbery, unlawful imprisonment, actual bodily harm and theft following a four-day trial last year. He was given an indeterminate sentence and told he must serve a minimum of nine years.
Two other men–Reon Hall, who was also known as Reon Wong, 20, of Coulsdon, Surrey; and Aaron Gelly, 20, of Wallington, Surrey–were sentenced to nine years each in June for their role in the sustained three-hour attack.
Passing sentence at Southwark Crown Court, Judge Stephen Robbins told him: ‘You and others subjected this man and woman to a sustained attack, an ordeal of unbelievable brutality.
‘You subjected the male to what can only be described as torture, burning him with an iron, covering him with bleach and rubbing lemon juice into his wounds.
‘The female had been orally raped by one of you in the joint and concerted attack carried out in the mistaken belief that there was money in the property.’
Gordon’s actions ‘can only be described as horrendous and barbaric crimes on these individuals whose lives have been ruined’, the judge said.
He went on: ‘You would seem to present a high risk of serious harm to the general public, including violence and the use of weapons.’
The judge added that psychologists found Gordon’s drug use and his personality disorder meant he posed a ‘medium to high risk of future offending’ and the risk of future violence was significant.
Gordon, who wore a grey jumper with white trousers, stared directly at the female police officers in court as he was sent down–but they simply smiled back.
In a victim impact statement, the 26-year-old mother-of-one, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: ‘Before all this happened I was a confident, outgoing girl that enjoyed going out to clubs and had a wide circle of friends.
‘Sadly all this has now changed. I still have nightmares about that night where people are coming to get me and kidnap me.
‘I no longer go out like I would do and find myself staying in with my young daughter as I fear something will happen again.
Reon Hall and Aaron Gelly were sentenced to nine years each for their part in the attack. They pleaded guilty on the basis that they did not take part in violence
‘On occasion when I do go out I am still fearful of young men and stick close by my friends who I will be in constant phone contact with on my way home until I have the front door closed behind me.
‘I now feel that as a mother I will never be able to protect my daughter as on that night I could not protect myself.
‘Even though we have moved away from the area I still feel totally vulnerable and will live with this for the rest of my life.
‘This is something that will not go away.’
Describing her ordeal as ‘life-changing’, she said she now suffers panic attacks on a daily basis, is on medication for depression and has lost more than two stone in weight.
‘I am going to seek counselling in order to regain my appetite as I am no longer eating properly,’ she said.
‘I even find it difficult to brush my teeth as I now have a gagging reflex to the effect of the toothbrush.’
In his victim statement, her boyfriend said he lost his job following the attack and became ‘extremely stressed’ that his attackers could be anyone he passed in the street.
‘The police investigation identified three people but there are still more of them and I don’t know who these men are,’ he said.
He too was now on medication for depression, unwilling to go to his local victim support centre as it was in an area of which he was fearful.
‘At the time I just felt like giving up,’ he said.
‘After this I began to try to get my life back on track and in September 2009 I moved away from the Brixton area.
‘I am only now starting to feel better about things over a year later although I am still on medication for depression.’
Gordon was caught because he left his DNA on a juice carton, the court was told.
Robert Rabe, in mitigation for Gordon, said the victims had hoods placed over their heads during the incident and could not identify any of their attackers.
So there was no evidence that Gordon committed any of the violence, he told the judge.
Mr Rabe said: ‘It could be possible that those who were committing the violence and those who planned it would be more cautious about leaving DNA.’
Both Hall and Gelly pleaded guilty on the basis they did not carry out any of the violence, he told the court.
At the age of 17 Gordon was jailed for four years by a judge at Wolverhampton Crown Court in January 1996 for a series of robberies and attempted robberies which were carried out over a 10-day period with a group of other men.
In July 2000 Gordon was jailed by a judge at the Old Bailey for further eight years for a multiple stabbing of a so-called friend he accused of implicating him in a robbery of which he was acquitted.
While on licence from prison in June 2006, Gordon was jailed for a further 18 months for drugs offences.
Hall and Gelly were caught when their DNA was found on a cigarette butt left in the bedroom of the house, police said.
Speaking about the case last November, Detective Inspector Mick Foote, of the Metropolitan Police’s specialist crime directorate, said: ‘Both victims were subjected to unnecessary physical violence in their own home.
‘They were targeted for money and then assaulted over and over again, despite saying they had no money.
‘Both victims have suffered a very traumatic event. However, I would like to reassure the public that such crimes are very rare.’