An Italian judge has confirmed the arrest of four people for the alleged kidnap of a 25-year-old British man.
Patrick Sam Kourosh Demilecamps, from London, had been on holiday in Italy when he was allegedly kidnapped and held captive for eight days in an apartment in Monte San Giusto, a small town in the central Marche region. He was freed by police on Wednesday after they traced him via the location tracker on his mobile phone.
Rubens Beliga Gnana, 18, Ahmed Rajraji, 21, Dona Conte, 22, and Aurora Carpani, 20, were arrested on charges of kidnapping for the purpose of extortion. The four live between Monte San Giusto and the nearby town of Montegranaro.
Massimiliano Mengasini, a lieutenant colonel at the Macerata unit of Italy’s ROS carabinieri special operations group, said on Friday police were still working to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the alleged kidnap and how Demilecamps came into contact with the group.
One of the suspects reportedly told the judge on Friday that Demilecamps owed the group €7,000 (£5,900) and that the kidnap was staged in order to convince his family to send the money.
Police found the man handcuffed and barefooted in a darkened room with furniture pushed against the wall. Police said he had been fed sporadically and was “psychologically tested” by the ordeal.
Demilecamps’ alleged captors allowed him to contact his parents in the UK to ask them to send the €7,000 to secure his release, and via a coded text message his parents understood he was being held against his will.
The man’s father contacted the National Crime Agency (NCA) in the UK, which in turn raised the alert with the Italian police.
The man told police he had been in Italy since early June after travelling there to escape the UK after the coronavirus lockdown.
Over the past few months he had visited several cities including Naples, Sorrento, Florence and Bologna, before arriving in Macerata. At the time of the kidnap the man was with a friend, who managed to escape and inform relatives in the UK.
Andrea Gentili, the mayor of Monte San Giusto, said the town of 8,000 residents was “dumbfounded” by news of the alleged kidnap.
“We only ever hear about kidnappings on the TV,” Gentili told the Italian press. “We are a small town and so such an event for us is even more striking. We are very sorry to end up under the spotlight for a story like this.”