A Turkish radio DJ told his sobbing girlfriend “Be quiet my love” before she was beaten unconscious by a gang of kidnappers, a court heard.
The body of DJ Koray Alpergin, 43, was discovered near the Oakwood Hill Industrial Estate in Loughton, Essex, last 15 October.
Mr Alpergin, from North Cyprus, was formerly the owner of popular British Turkish radio station Bizim FM and known for his flamboyant lifestyle socialising with celebrities such as rapper P Diddy and Turkish restaurateur Salt Bae.
The DJ was kidnapped from outside his flat in Enfield with girlfriend Gözde Dalbudak, 34 and the pair were ‘frog-marched’ into a white van after arriving home from an Italian restaurant in Mayfair last year, the Old Bailey heard.
Mr Alpergin was beaten with a baseball bat, boiling water was poured on him and other horrific torture methods used, including being intimately violated, while Ms Dalbudak was locked in a toilet for two days, jurors were told.
His naked body was then dumped in woodland and the vehicles used set alight before the corpse was found by a dog walker, the court heard.
On the opening day of the case, prosecutor Crispin Aylett KC had stated that a post-mortem examination of Mr Alpergin’s body had identified 94 separate injuries. The court heard that such was the extent of the injuries that the DJ could have survived his ordeal for “no more than six hours”.
Ms Dalbudak was released after she spent two days locked in a toilet, said to be Stadium Lounge (formerly Ezgi Türkü Bar), a venue opposite Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium in North London, and was mistaken as a homeless tramp when she tried to get help.
Steffan Gordon, 34, Tejean Kennedy, 33, Samuel Owusu-Opuku, 35, Junior Kettle, 32, and Ali Kavak, 26, deny murder and false imprisonment.
Kennedy, Owusu-Opuku, Kettle and Kavak also deny kidnap of Mr Alpergin and Ms Dalbudak on 13 October 2022, while Gordon admits it.
Kavak and Erdogan Ulcay, 56, deny perverting the course of justice by assisting with the disposal of Mr Alpergin’s body or the destruction by fire of a Fiat Diablo van and Renault Megane.
Mr Aylett told jurors in the early hours of 14 October CCTV footage picked up Owusu-Opuku and Kavak driving in convoy through to Markfield Park in Tottenham. Owusu-Opuku was travelling in a Polo and Kavak was in a white Diablo van.
Mr Aylett said: “You know Mr Owusu-Opuku has pleaded to count six on the indictment, perverting the course of justice.
“That doesn’t mean he knew the van had been involved in the kidnap, nor indeed that the van had transported the victim from the kidnap.
“So, Mr Owusu-Opuku accepts setting alight the vehicle – but not as to why that happened which of course the prosecution say he knew perfectly well.
“The fire brigade arrive, and we’ve looked at those photographs of the damage done to the Diablo. It was so badly damaged that it actually took some time to establish even the model of the vehicle but, in the end, it was shown to be a second-generation Fiat Diablo van.”
Extent of Koray Alpergin’s injuries
On Thursday, 22 September, jurors at the Old Bailey heard the extent of Mr Alpergin’s injuries.
Mr Aylett said, “A neuropathologist identified what he described as a ‘moderately thick subarachnoid haemorrhage’, which is bleeding in the space surrounding the brain’s front, and right frontal lobes, consistent with Mr Alpergin having sustained some traumatic injury such as being struck on the back of the head.”
Mr Alpergin had suffered a fracture to his thyroid cartridge consistent with strangulation.
“The pathologist] Dr Ben Swift considers Mr Alpergin could not have survived theses injuries by no more than six hours, and it might have been death came much more quickly than that.”
Mem and Laz owner initially thought Ms Dalbudak was a “beggar” because of her physical state
Giving evidence on Monday, 25 September, Mem and Laz restaurant owner Mehmet Kocakerim told the court that Ms Dalbudak had come to his restaurant after her release by the kidnappers.
He said that he had been friends with Mr Alpergin for 15 years and on 10 October 2022 he had come to his restaurant with Ms Dalbudak. Mr Alpergin told him they had met during the summer and called her ‘my future wife’.
Mr Kocakerim said on the following Saturday [15 October 2022] he learnt that Mr Alpergin was missing.
At around 3pm he said someone came into the restaurant: “Suddenly a lady came in. At first, I thought that she was a beggar or something because she didn’t have any make up on and she looked very rough and everything.
“I approached her and said, ‘how can I help you’ and she said ‘don’t you recognise me?’”
“I said ‘no, I don’t recognise you madam’ and she said she was Koray’s girlfriend. She had a bruised nose and bruises under her eyes, she had a big hat on her head and an oversized green jacket.”
Mr Kocakerim explained that Ms Dalbudak then asked him for money, so she could pay the taxi she had used to take to the restaurant.
“She looked scared,” said Mr Kocakerim. “I wasn’t sure if someone was following her or something, I asked if we needed to call the police.She said she didn’t want the police involved, all she wanted was to get her passport and to fly out. I said ‘I don’t think you can do that because everybody’s looking for you.’”
“She asked to use my phone to call her family in Turkiye – she called a Turkish number. She called and both sides were crying, they were worried. A family friend then came to pick her up,” Mr Kocakerim said.
Summaries of Gözde Dalbudak’s police interviews read out in court
Also on Monday, the court heard summaries of Ms Dalbudak’s interviews with the police. She had met Mr Alpergin though a female friend in Turkiye in June 2022.
She said they flirted for a while and after a couple of months she planned to come to London for about five days, so they could get to know each other better. She had arrived in the UK on 10 October and had a return flight booked for 16 October 2022.
Mr Alpergin took her sightseeing and to “the best restaurants”, she said. She didn’t know him that well but said he had shown interest in her and affection, and she wanted to spend more time with him.
On the night of the kidnap, Ms Dalbudak said a man appeared at the side of the car with a metal bread knife and told her to shut up. She saw three or four males holding Mr Alpergin and she was ‘very scared’, she said.
Ms Dalbudak said she was placed in the back of the van and was crying loudly. The men told her to shut up and Mr Alpergin said, “Be quiet my love.”
She said she was knocked out by being punched twice in the face. Ms Daldubak told police she thought she was going to die.
Her next memory was being inside a dark place and hearing Mr Alpergin and someone hitting or beating him. She could hear him shouting in English.
She tried to explain she was a tourist on holiday and was crying a lot, she said. Her hands and feet were tied and she was blindfolded and made to walk to a toilet where she was locked up.
The lavatory only had a tiny bit of light and smelled like fish or dead animals, she said. Her trench coat, an iPhone, a gold bracelet and a necklace with a heart shaped diamond pendant bought for her by a previous partner were taken, she said.
She tried to tell them “ticket, Istanbul airport” and said, in her limited English, she would go to Istanbul and not go to the police. She said she was in a state of fear and panic and wanted to get out as soon as possible.
Ms Dalbudak later turned up at Kentish Town Police station and was placed into special protection as Mr Alpergin had been found dead, the court heard.
Friend tells court Koray was subdued after returning from Turkiye
Parveen Ramjeawon, a friend of Mr Alpergin, told the court the DJ was subdued after returning from Turkiye in September 2022.
She said she had been friends with Mr Alpergin for several years and in the year before his death would see him nearly every day at the gym, his house or at events.
“He’d DJ Turkish music – the events were aimed at the Turkish community. He would go back to Turkiye to DJ, holiday, see friends and family – mostly in the summer,” Ms Ramjeawon told the court.
Prosecutor Crispin Aylett, KC asked how Mr Alpergin was when he returned from Turkiye in summer 2022.
Ms Ramjeawon replied: “He wasn’t himself. He was completely different. He’s always been a happy go lucky guy- he was very caring, very loving, always laughing, joking- he liked to have fun.
“When he was stressed, he was very quiet. I could tell he was very stressed. He said there was a lot going on in his mind. He said he had said the wrong thing to the wrong person and they wanted to question him.
“I asked him more, but he never ever told me anything. He always kept me away from harms way.”
Ms Ramjeawon said that on 24 September they went to the gym before driving back to Mr Alpergin’s house in their separate cars.
“We were driving down the road and he rang me. He said to me his car’s making a weird sound. I made a joke and asked him if his car was being bugged.
“He didn’t react. He went quiet.
“He normally parks in a car park opposite his apartment – but when we got back he didn’t park there, he said he was going to park somewhere else and walk to the back door and to meet him there. I found that odd.”
She said they got to the flat at about 9.30pm and she stayed there for around two hours. “He was very quiet – preoccupied on his phone, very minimal conversation.
“When we leave, he would normally drop me to the back of the building door, instead he didn’t and he said to me when you’re in the car park let me know if you see a white van.”
Ms Ramjeawon said she did not see Mr Alpergin again, but spoke to him on the phone and on Whatsapp.
“He was still quiet – he was just never the same. His brain was just so preoccupied that I knew he was going through something.”
Ms Ramjeawon said she had not met Ms Dalbudak, but Mr Alpergin had mentioned her.
“I knew she was coming over but he didn’t want her to come over. The day I met him on 24th he said they were going through a lot of problems, they were arguing. She had booked to come over but he said he didn’t want her to come.”
Ms Ramjeawon said she “wouldn’t say it was a relationship,” explaining that, “They weren’t fully together they were just seeing each other.”
The case continues.
Court case news reproduced with permission from Court News UK