Lettings agency doused tenant in petrol in campaign to evict residents, court hears

It’s claimed 10 men barged into a man’s home and beat him

A lettings agency doused a tenant in petrol in a “campaign of violence” to extort and illegally evict residents, a court has heard.

One tenant had his teeth smashed by a gang of 10 and was doused in petrol, Canterbury Crown Court heard. It is claimed that another was kicked out after landlords said they’d found a bag of white powder, SWNS reports.

It is claimed that residents of the properties, in Margate in Kent, found belongings stolen, keys taken, locks broken and toilets smashed upon returning to their flats.

The defendants (Sohila Tamiz, 66, Pedram Tamiz, 47, Kasem El Darrat, 53, and Adam McChesney, 39) all deny 16 charges relating to conspiracy to unlawfully evict.

The alleged offences are said to have taken place across 14 years, from 2007 to 2021, and are said to be against 26 tenants.

Kasem Al Darrat, via SWNS

Prosecutors say that in total, residents of 10 properties were subjected to breaches of the Protection of Eviction Act, with many illegally evicted, it’s been said.

It’s claimed that 10 men barged into a man’s home, dousing him in petrol and beating him, resulting in him losing three teeth. The next day his locks were changed and he was forced to live in an abandoned caravan, the court heard.

The court was told Sohila and Pedram would demand rent from one woman when none was due, and ordered her to leave her home with no warning.

They told another woman to pay for rent she didn’t owe, before removing her locks and taking her belongings from the property. She told jurors she gave Sohila £1,600 for a month’s rent and deposit, and the situation quickly became “tense”.

Adam McChesney, via SWNS

She said: “Sohila and Pedram knocked on the door and said they had found a white bag of powder. We thought nothing of it because it wasn’t ours, and that’s when it all started.

“Sohila rang me demanding rent but my rent wasn’t due just yet.” When she refused to pay, she told jurors Sohila said: “You need to come and get your stuff and get out.” She returned with a friend, but says Sohila and two men “tried getting us out”.

“They took the locks off the front door,” she said.

She said she felt “scared” and said that her partner wedged the door shut with a metal bar and put shampoo on the floor, so any intruders would slip over.

The next day, she says Thanet District Council advised her to find different accommodation. When she returned to the flat she said her furniture and belongings had disappeared.

Sohila took another woman’s key and sabotaged her electricity supply, the court was told. She is also said to have acted “in a menacing manner and demanding that they leave”, Prosecutor Michael Polak said.

Darrat and McChesney, are also charged with conspiring to interfere with the peace and comfort of the occupier, and Sohila is also accused of conspiring to burgle two properties where tenants lived.

The trial is ongoing.

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