Gang goes to prison for sadistic' attacks

PUBLISHED: 05:59 16 November 2006 | UPDATED: 09:59 31 May 2010

A FORMER Stansted footballer has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail for his part in a series of gratuitous and sadistic attacks carried out by a notorious London gang. Luis Frota, 22, from Barking, who left the club three months ago and als

A FORMER Stansted footballer has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in jail for his part in a series of "gratuitous and sadistic" attacks carried out by a notorious London gang.

Luis Frota, 22, from Barking, who left the club three months ago and also played for Dagenham and Redbridge, was sent down at Wood Green Crown Court on Monday (November 13). His younger brother Pedro, 19, Sofian Majera, 22, and Robert Lincoln, 18, were handed life sentences.

The gang kidnapped and terrified their victims in 24 senseless attacks, often targeting white and Asian passengers leaving tube and train stations in the capital, between September and December 2005.

The ex-footballer faced lesser charges than his co-defendants, of one attack and two counts of handling stolen goods.

Alan Penfold, manager of Stansted Football Club, said: "I'm very surprised to hear that Luis was involved in all this.

"I don't know the full story but I understand that he didn't play as much of a part as the other three."

Mr Penfold has visited Luis in prison when he has been in trouble with the police in the past, but he believes that he is not the type of person to carry out such brutal crimes.

"I still believe he's innocent. I need to see him and hear him tell me that he's guilty before I believe that," he said.

"It's an absolutely terrible shame - he was a fantastic player and had a professional career ahead of him - but what happened to that gang's victims was appalling.

"If he was involved then he deserves everything he gets."

The gang's victims were bundled into cars before being tormented by having guns held to their heads, knives to their throats, being beaten with baseball bats and threatened with death.

Sentencing the gang, Judge Witold Pawlak said: "You hunted in a pack and the violence was gratuitous and sadistic. Some of you appear to be addicted to violence. You treated your victims as if they were targets in an arcade game.

"The attacks happened invariably on men, alone, near rail or underground tube stations.

"Your victims were kept prisoner for as long as an hour and were intimidated verbally and physically. In a word, these were appalling crimes."

The four men, who have 36 previous convictions between them, are likely to face deportation upon release.

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