Boy, 14, held hostage in Ilford over brother’s drug deal – court

A promising 14-year-old footballer was kidnapped and held prisoner at an Ilford flat after a drug deal involving the boy’s older brother went wrong, a court heard.

Salim Popoola, 30, and Terrance Willoughby, 19, bundled the schoolboy, who plays for a junior Championship side, into a car and drove him to Pittman Gardens where they locked him up for to 10 hours, a jury at the Inner London Crown Court heard.

Richard Hearnden, prosecuting, said Popoola and Willoughby believed they had been double-crossed by the boy’s older brother after he disappeared with their �1,000.

“They kidnapped his younger brother and held him hostage. Their ransom was their money back,” said the barrister.

The boy was about to play football with friends, at around 7pm on September 4, last year, when up to four men drove by looking for their enemy.

One of them pointed out the 14-year-old, and they decided impulsively to kidnap him, claimed the barrister.

“The driver was Popoola and Willoughby was also there,” said Mr Hearnden.

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While in the car the boy was forced to ring his mother and told her in another language of his plight and that his attackers “wanted money”.

“In a later call he sounded scared,” said the barrister.

The victim was led to the Ilford flat, watched over by Willoughby, it was claimed. Popoola left as it was his birthday.

The boy was not tied up or beaten, but he was “told in no uncertain terms that he was to do what he was told”.

But he eventually took his chance at an escape at around 6am after Willoughby fell asleep.

The prosecutor said he caught a bus home, where police were waiting.

The defendants later told police the boy had gone with them willingly to help them look for his brother, jurors heard.

Willoughby and Popoola each deny kidnap and false imprisonment.

The trial continues.