Like a “gangster movie”: 5 men who abducted, tortured and killed DJ Koray Alpergin given sentences totalling 48 years

A criminal gang behind the kidnapping, imprisonment, torture, killing and disposing of the body of DJ Koray ‘Bizim FM’ Alpergin have been handed long custodial sentences by a judge at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.

Koray, 43, a popular radio presenter in the Turkish community, was initially treated as a missing person when police were contacted on 14 October 2022 after his friend became concerned for his welfare.

The next day, Koray’s naked body was found in woodland near to the Oakwood Hill Industrial Estate in Loughton, prompting homicide detectives to start an investigation.

Their painstaking work, which included analysis of over 1,000 hours of CCTV footage and intelligence from the Turkish community, unravelled the events that led to Koray’s horrific death and the culprits behind it.

Koray and his girlfriend Gözde Dalbudak were snatched outside their home in Cockfosters, North London, after a night out in Mayfair, central London, on 13 October 2022.

They were bundled into a white van and taken via the back entrance to an empty wine bar (Stadium Lounge) virtually opposite the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. It was here that Koray, a father-of-two, was tortured to death.

A post-mortem examination found evidence of 94 separate injuries to Koray’s body, which was covered in cuts and bruises. He had been beaten with a baseball bat, scalded with boiling water and had the soles of his feet stabbed, he had broken ribs and there were strangulation marks around his neck, as well as bruising to his genitals.

Koray’s girlfriend, 34-year-old Ms Dalbudak, spent two days tied up and locked in a “filthy toilet” before being freed by her captors. She has since flown home to her native Turkiye and refused to return to Britain following her ordeal.

In a statement to police after being freed, Ms Dalbudak said her boyfriend had called out to her, saying “my love, don’t be scared” and “sorry, my love”, before she heard his screams as he was beaten and tortured.

After killing him, the men then moved Koray’s body to a trading estate in Tottenham, before moving it again to Loughton, Essex, dumping it in woodland, which was found on Saturday morning by a dog walker.

It was not possible to establish what the motive behind Koray’s abduction and torture was, but in his summing up, Prosector Crispin Aylett KC told jurors the attack on Mr Alpergin bore “all the hallmarks of being linked to serious, organised crime – almost certainly drugs.”

Despite there being 94 wounds to his body, the jury did not find any of the suspects charged with Koray’s murder guilty. Manslaughter verdicts were returned instead, a point Judge Sarah Whitehouse KC referred to during the sentencing at the Old Bailey on Tuesday.

She described Mr Alpergin’s death as a “horrific murder”, adding that if the defendants had been convicted of that offence, they would have received a life sentence with a minimum term of 30 years and “probably considerably higher”.

Ahead of sentencing, the judge also noted the lengthy criminal records of several of the men who had been convicted.

Koray’s father suffered two strokes, while teenage son has visions of his father being tortured  

Koray, who was originally from northern Cyprus and moved to Britain with his family when he was aged 10, was a well-known and popular figure in the British Turkish community.

He had helped establish Turkish language radio station in London, Bizim FM, in 2005, which brought together the Turkish-speaking communities.

His social media posts showed him enjoying a flamboyant life, as he was pictured with Turkish, American and British celebrities.

A father of two, with a son now aged 17 and daughter aged 8, Koray was close to his family. On Tuesday, Old Bailey heard impact statements from his relatives.

Koray’s cousin, Meliz Halil, spoke of their “indescribable pain” and the “brutality” of Mr Alpergin’s death.

She accused the defendants of attempting to “escape the consequences of their heinous actions” and “tarnish (Koray’s) character”, describing his killers as a “danger to society”.

Ms Halil told the court Mr Alpergin’s parents had not smiled since his death and his father had suffered two strokes and a heart attack because of the “pain of losing his son.

She added: “How can you tell your children about the barbaric torture their uncle experienced?”

Prosecutor Peter Ratliff, reading a statement by Mr Alpergin’s former wife, said his son had been unable to sleep and suffered “visions of the violence committed” against his father.

“The circumstances of Koray’s death were like something you see in a gangster movie”

Detective Chief Inspector Matt Webb, the lead investigator, said the case was one of the most complex his team had dealt with.

DCI Webb said: “The circumstances of Koray’s death were like something you see in a gangster movie. First, he was kidnapped by a group of men in a highly organised operation that involved placing a tracker on his car. He was then taken to a disused restaurant where he was subjected to a horrific attack.

“The individuals responsible for his death were careful to cover their tracks by cleaning the restaurant and burning out cars used to move Koray’s body. However, we cracked this case through painstaking and lengthy analysis of CCTV that demonstrated the group’s collective activity and presence at key locations. We also presented detailed mobile phone records to the jury showing how they were in contact before, during and after Koray was kidnapped.

Gang sentences

Ali Kavak, 26, of De Quincey Road, Tottenham was found guilty of manslaughter, kidnap, false imprisonment and perverting the course of justice. He was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment.

Tejean Kennedy, 33, of Cricklewood Broadway was found guilty of manslaughter, kidnap and false imprisonment. He was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment.

Steffan Gordon, 34, of Dehavilland Close, Northolt had pleaded guilty to kidnap. He was found guilty of false imprisonment. He was sentenced to eight years’ imprisonment.

Samuel Owusu-Opoku, 35, of Dunbar Road, N22 had pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice. He was found guilty of kidnap. He was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.

Yigit Hurman, 18, of Audley Close, N10, was also charged with perverting the course of justice and pleaded guilty to this. He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.

Other suspects

After the sentencing, DCI Webb said, “I am pleased that these extremely violent and dangerous men have been convicted and will now be in prison for a long period of time. This should send a message to those involved in organised crime and serious violence, we will leave no stone unturned and are determined to bring them to justice.”

Two more suspects, Ali Yıldırım and Cem Orman, are still at large and are believed to have fled abroad.

Two other men have been charged as part of the investigation into Koray’s abduction and death, and will stand trial at a later date.

Main image, top, clockwise from top left to right: Tejean Kennedy, victim DJ Koray Alpergin, Yigit Hurman, Steffan Gordon, Samuel Owusu-Opoku, and Ali Kavak