No jail cut for Plaistow hostage taker
PUBLISHED: 06:00 07 March 2012
Judges have backed the nine-and-a-half year prison term handed to a knifeman who “mentally tortured” a cash’n’carry manager’s family when he held them hostage with pillow cases over their head as the gas taps were turned on and off.
Wander Yannick Vaz, 25, of Barking Road, Plaistow, was jailed at Wood Green Crown Court in 2010 after he admitted false imprisonment and attempted robbery.
He was part of a gang of gunmen who attacked Badshah Khan’s family in a bid to terrorise him into opening the safe, London’s Court of Appeal was told.
Three senior judges sitting last week rejected claims that the sentence was excessive, saying his victims’ lives would “never be the same again”.
Mr Justice Field told the court Vaz and two other men targeted Mr Khan in November 2009, when he was manager of Bestway cash’n’carry in Tottenham.
The trio – wielding guns, a knife and CS gas spray – followed him into his home in South Tottenham and he was struck to the head.
Mr Khan’s wife and four children, one as young as 14, were tied up, had tape put across their mouths and pillow cases placed over their heads.
Mr Khan was told to “look at his family for the last time”, and the gas taps in his home were turned on as the robbers threatened to blow up the property.
Mr Khan was taken to open the safe by the other two gang members, while Vaz, who held the knife and the CS spray, guarded his bound family.
The robbery failed after a company monitoring the store’s alarm became suspicious.
Vaz fled the house, leaving his DNA on a balaclava and jumpsuit he had been wearing.
Lawyers for Vaz claimed that his sentence was too long considering he had not planned the robbery, did not use any violence against the family and did not travel to the store.
But Mr Justice Field, sitting with Lord Justice Aikens and Judge Nicholas Cooke QC, rejected the claims and ordered that Vaz, who stood in the dock guarded by a security officer, be taken back to jail.
The judge said: “The fact is that this appellant was a party to a carefully planned enterprise whose objective was to terrify Mr Khan and his family.
“The ordeal suffered by Mr Khan and his family was horrific, they were subjected to mental torture; the turning on and off of the taps, coupled with the threats that the house would be blown up while they sat tied-up with pillow cases over their heads.
“The lives of Mr Khan’s family will never be the same again... In our judgement such serious offending called for a severe sentence.”.
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