Letting agents doused tenant in petrol and beat him in eviction conspiracy, court told

A letting agency doused a tenant in petrol during a sustained campaign of violence, vandalism and power blackouts to extort and illegally evict residents, a court has heard.

Canterbury Crown Court heard one tenant was covered in petrol and had his teeth smashed by a gang of 10.

Another was kicked out after landlords claimed they found a bag of white powder, it is claimed.

Residents of the properties in Athelstan Road in Margate, Kent are said to have found had their toilets smashed, locks broken, keys taken and belongings stolen after returning to their flats.

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 offending is said to have taken place over 14 years between 2007 and 2021 when they are said to have plotted against 26 tenants.

In total, residents in 10 properties were subjected to breaches of the Protection of Eviction Act, with many illegally evicted, prosecutors said.

The court was told Sohila Tamiz and Pedram Tamiz, from Lenham in Kent, would demand rent from Shirleyann Hamdi when none was due and ordered her to leave her home out of the blue.

The pair also told Jennifer Duffy to pay rent she did not owe them before removing her locks and taking her belongings from the property.

She told jurors she handed Ms Tamiz £1,600 for a month’s rent and deposit and the situation quickly became “tense”.

Adam McChesney, one of the defendants accused of conspiracy to unlawfully evict

She said in her evidence: “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.”

She told jurors when she refused to hand over money and Sohila Tamiz said: “You need to come and get your stuff and get out.”

She added that when she returned with her friend Debra, Ms Tamiz and two men “tried getting us out”.

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

“Were you being asked to leave your flat?” the prosecutor asked.

“Yes,” she replied.

“How?”

“It was all shouting and screaming.”

“How did you feel?” the prosecutor continued.

“Scared,” she said.

Ms Duffy told how, after a scuffle, her partner wedged the door shut with a metal bar and smeared shampoo on the floor, so intruders would slip.

She told how Thanet District Council the next day advised her to find alternative accommodation.

On returning to the flat her furniture and belongings had disappeared, she said.

Asked if she was given her deposit back, she said: “No.”

Ms Tamiz also allegedly conspired to unlawfully evict Julie Box-Beaumont and Stephen Dale from another home on the road.

She took Hayley Griffiths’ key and sabotaged her electricity supply, the court was told. She is also said to have damaged the toilet and acted “in a menacing manner and demanding that they leave”, prosecutor Michael Polak said.

It is also claimed 10 men barged into Carl Hopkins’s home, doused him in petrol and beat him, causing him to lose three teeth.

The next day Mr Hopkins’s locks had been changed, forcing him to live in an abandoned caravan, the court was told.

Mr El-Darrat and Mr McChesney, both from Margate, are also charged with conspiring to interfere with the peace and comfort of the occupier.

Ms Tamiz is also accused of conspiring to burgle two properties where tenants lived.

The trial continues.

SWNS


Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.

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