Old Bailey: jury sent out to consider their verdicts in Koray Alpergin murder trial

The jury has retired to deliberate over the evidence presented in the murder trial of 43-year-old Koray Alpergin, whose body was found dumped in Essex woodland last year.

During the seven week trial at the Old Bailey, which started on 20 September 2023, the prosecution set out the case against six defendants, who are variously accused of kidnapping and murdering Mr Alpergin, disposing of his body, and perverting the course of justice.

Ali Kavak, 26, Tejean Kennedy, 33, Junior Kettle, 32, Steffan Gordon, 34, and Samuel Owusu-Opuku, 35, deny murder and false imprisonment.

Kennedy, Owusu-Opuku, Kettle and Kavak also deny the kidnapping 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.

Mr Alpergin, a popular British Turkish radio DJ, and his 34-year-old girlfriend, Gözde Dalbudak were abducted after a night out in central London. They were taken to Stadium Lounge (formerly Ezgi Türkü Bar), then an empty wine bar on Tottenham High Road virtually opposite Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, where while Ms Dalbudak spent two days locked in a toilet before being freed, the court heard.

Mr Alpergin was beaten with a baseball bat, throttled, scalded with boiling water, stabbed, maimed and violated by “sadistic thugs” in a case that bore all the hallmarks of serious organised crime, jurors at the Old Bailey were told.

A post-mortem examination identified 94 separate wounds to his body, which was discovered in woodland near the Oakwood Hill Industrial Estate in Loughton, Essex, last 15 October.

Mr Alpergin, who was born in Lefkoşa, North Cyprus, in February 1989 and came to London at the age of 10, was the owner of a number of businesses including Turkish music radio station Kral FM. He became well-known in the British Turkish community as the co-founder and presenter of popular Bizim FM — the UK’s first Turkish pirate radio station —  and was known for his flamboyant lifestyle socialising with celebrities such as rapper P Diddy and Turkish restaurateur Salt Bae.

During the trial into his death, jurors heard how the DJ and his girlfriend were kidnapped from outside his flat in Enfield and forced into a white van after arriving home from an Italian restaurant in Mayfair on 13 October. Mr Alpergin’s 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.

Three of the six defendants, Ali Kavak, Junior Kettle, and Steffan Gordon, took to the stand to be questioned on the events leading up to Mr Alpergin’s horrific death.

Each defendant tried to deflect responsibility from themselves by claiming they were unaware of the plot to kidnap Mr Alpergin, his torture and subsequent death, as well as trying to explain their presence at key moments and places associated with the planning, kidnap and murder of Mr Alpergin.

The details of their testimonies have been captured by writers for Court News UK and also by ex-BBC crime reporter Chris Summers via his Total Crime Twitter account.

Tejean Kennedy, Samuel Owusu-Opuku and Erdogan Ulcay chose not to give evidence, as is their right. Judge Whitehouse told the jury can draw certain inferences from their silence including, as the prosecution assert, that their version of events did not stand up to cross-examination.

In his summing up of the trial on 6 November, prosecutor Crispin Aylett KC told jury: “The great attribute you bring as a jury is your experience of life and your common sense,” adding that, “for hundreds of years” jurors have been deciding “who is and who isn’t telling the truth in trials”. The jury was sent out to consider its verdict on Tuesday, 14 November.

Thread on Prosecutor Crispin Aylett KC’s remarks in his summing up at Koray’s murder trial