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Last Updated: Monday, 13 November 2006, 15:16 GMT
Sadistic robbers jailed for life
(left to right) Pedro Frota, Robert Lincoln and Sofian Majera
The trio face deportation after their sentences have been served
A gang of armed robbers have been jailed for life for kidnapping people and subjecting them to "sadistic and gratuitous violence".

More than a dozen pedestrians and motorists in London were beaten and stripped of their valuables.

London's Wood Green Crown Court heard one man had his arm broken and another was tortured with a cigarette lighter.

Pedro Frota, 19, Sofian Majera, 22, and Robert Lincoln, 18, all from east London, admitted 17 robberies.

The court heard they cruised London at night armed with guns, knives and baseball bats looking for victims.

Homophobia and racism

People they kidnapped were stripped of their valuables and warned they would be tortured or killed unless they handed over their pin numbers.

Threats ranged from being shot and having their throats slit to their eyes being gouged and being burnt alive.

The jury was told the gang broke the arm of one victim who was so frightened he could not tell his attackers what they wanted to know.

Luis Frota
Luis Frota was given a four-and-a half year sentence for his part

Francis Sheridan, prosecuting, said it was made clear homophobia and racial hatred occasionally played a part in the selection of victims.

Judge Witold Pawlak told Jamaican national Lincoln, 18, from Barking, Rwandan Majera, 22, from nearby Dagenham, and Portuguese national Pedro Frota, 19, from Barking, they must serve a minimum of seven years before they could be considered for parole.

Frota's older brother Luis, 22, escaped a life sentence and was handed a four-and-a-half year term for his lesser role.

Judge Pawlak said: "Your crimes were usually late at night. You hunted in a pack and your violence was sadistic and gratuitous," the judge told them.

"In fact, each of you is addicted to violence and you treated your victims as though they were characters in an arcade game."

'Difficult investigation'

Speaking after sentencing Det Insp Lloyd Gardner said: "This was one of the most violent street robbery gangs to operate within London in the last five years."

He said it was a "particularly difficult investigation" as the victims were only able to give a vague description of the men and there was no CCTV.

During the 10-month inquiry more than 1,000 exhibits were collated, together with almost 300 witness statements.

The offences took place between 31 August and 14 December last year.

All four defendants, who have previous convictions, face deportation after their sentences have been served.

Robbery victims talk about their experiences


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