Gang jailed over failed attempt to free inmate from prison van
A gang member was shot dead during the operation
Published 20/06/2016 | 19:07
A gang who launched a failed bid to free a criminal from a prison van during which one of their members was killed have been sentenced to a total of 27 years and two months in prison.
The attempt to break Izzet Eren, who was being held on firearms offences, out of a prison van as he was being moved from Wormwood Scrubs prison to Wood Green Crown Court on December 11 2015 was thwarted as police had bugged the gang's car.
Armed police swooped on the gang, who had armed themselves with a replica Uzi gun, as their vehicles were near the north London court.
Accomplice Jermaine Baker, 28, of Tottenham, was shot dead by a police officer during the operation.
Judge Christopher Kinch QC, sitting at Woolwich Crown Court, south east London, told the gang who sat quietly in the dock that an attempted break out from custody was an " attack" on the criminal justice system which was also likely to threaten the general public and put security staff at risk.
The gang includes Eren Hasyer, 25, of Enfield, who was found guilty of conspiring in the escape plot but cleared of possession of an imitation firearm with criminal intent. He is to be sentenced on Thursday.
The judge sentenced Eren, 33, who is currently serving 14 years for the firearms offences, to a total of seven-and-a half years for the escape attempt. This includes five-and-half years for conspiracy to escape and two years for conspiracy to carry imitation firearms with criminal intent.
This sentence is to be served consecutively to the current 14 year jail sentence which was imposed in December.
Eren knew that he would face a long prison sentence when he appeared in court in December for firearms offences and tried to avoid it by masterminding the escape plan.
He had been caught in October with another man - Erwin Amoah-Gyamfi - carrying a loaded pistol and a Skorpion machine gun in north London as they drove on a stolen motorbike to allegedly carry out a shooting.
The judge told him Eren that he was "the motive behind the whole sequence of events", that he had "orchestrated" the escape plan and that he was "plainly a man of considerable influence", control and loyalty from the other gang members.
Prosecutor Jonathan Polnay told the court that Eren had previously been sentenced to eight years in prison in July 2011 for conspiracy to supply drugs. A condition of his sentence was that he was deported.
Mr Polnay said: "He should not have been in the UK at all".
In a bid to avoid a lengthy jail sentence Eren had masterminded the escape plot from his cell.
His cousin Ozcan Eren, 32, of Wood Green, had denied the same charges relating to the escape plot but changed his plea part way through the trial.
Driver Nathan Mason, 31, plus Gokay Sogucakli, 19, who are all from Tottenham, pleaded guilty to the same offences.
In sentencing the judge described the gang's offences as "very serious and create fear in the surrounding community as well as interefering with the prison system and the sentencing of the courts."
Ozcan Eren was described by the judge as a "trusted and intimate lieutenant" of Eren's whose key role was to act as a look-out and check the possible routes the prison van might take.
He was sentenced to a total of eight years, including five-and-a-half years for the conspiracy to escape and two-and-a-half years for the weapons offence. The sentence is consecutive.
Eren texted instructions to the gang using a mobile phone from inside the van, telling them the registration number and the cell he was in.
Ozcan Eren acted as the link-man, passing on details of the texts to the rest of the gang.
Mason, 31, was sentenced to six years and two months in prison. This included 50 months for the escape conspiracy charge and 24 months for the weapons offence which are to be served consecutively.
The judge said there was "no doubt" that Sogucakli, the youngest member of the gang, had "wholeheartedly" involved himself in the conspiracy.
Sogucakli, who was sitting behind Baker when he was shot, was sentenced to a total of five-and-a-half years in a young offenders institution. His consecutive sentence includes four years for escape conspiracy and 18 months for the weapons offence.
The court was told that Izzet Eren had masterminded the plan to try because he was facing a long prison sentence.
Prosecutors said Mason and Sogucakli, along with Baker, were in a stolen black Audi estate, complete with false number plates, near to Wood Green Crown Court.
This was to be the escape car.
Another Audi, driven by Ozcan Eren, was a further distance away communicating with the gang about the exact location of the van.
The judge said that "consideration was very closely given" by the gang to possibly using a real weapon but this was rejected.
Instead they opted for an replica Uzi which was later found in the back footwell of the escape car along with ski masks and balaclavas.
The gunmakers had boasted of the weapon's impressive and realistic fit and finish.
The judge pointed out the gang's intention that anyone who was confronted by that weapon "would believe they were facing a submachine gun".
The gang did not know the escape car had been bugged by police.
Shortly before 9am, officers surrounded the vehicle and Baker was shot during the operation.
Police said that gang members were in another car was about a mile away and were communicating with Eren about the exact location of the van.
They were stopped by police but not before a message was sent to Izzet Eren telling him to get rid of the tiny phone.
Parts of it were found shoved in to the grille of the prison van.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission is still investigating the officer who shot Baker.
The officer has been arrested but has not been charged.