"Khubaib tried to exploit him for money."
A schoolboy who had made money trading in bitcoin and cryptocurrency was kidnapped by a gang who demanded £10,000 for his return.
One of the kidnappers has now been jailed.
On May 9, 2021, the 14-year-old boy was confronted outside Mahmood’s takeaway in Leeds Road, Bradford.
After one of the gang members put his hand over the victim’s mouth, he was punched and bundled into the back of Muhammed Khubaib’s Toyota Auris.
Laura McBride, prosecuting, told Bradford Crown Court that Khubaib activated the car’s central locking while the boy was sat between two men in the back.
The victim alleged that Khubaib then hit him in the face with a glove filled with sand.
While inside the car, the boy was told he would have to ring his mother and tell her to hand over “£10,000 or her son wouldn’t be going home”.
The victim’s mother was called. She described how the gang demanded money and her son was crying.
It was agreed that the mother would hand over £900. She came out of her home to hand over the cash when Khubaib drove to the boy’s home.
The kidnapping was then reported to the police and Khubaib was arrested a few days later.
Khubaib pleaded guilty to kidnap and blackmail. Bradford Crown Court heard that the three other men involved had not been identified.
Shufqat Khan, for Khubaib, said his client was now learning the hard way that “you are the company you keep”.
He said Khubaib had been carried along by more criminally-minded associates.
However, the Recorder of Bradford Judge Richard Mansell QC implied that Khubaib was at the forefront of the crime because he had been watching the boy in the takeaway.
Judge Mansell said the teenager had clearly been targeted because social media posts had indicated he had made “a reasonable amount of money” from trading in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies.
Muhammed Khubaib, aged 22, of Bradford, was jailed for four years.
Detective Constable Paul Maxwell, of Bradford Safeguarding Team, said:
“We welcome the sentence which has been passed down to Khubaib today at court.”
“He pleaded guilty to both counts he was charged with in May.
“The victim, a young teenager, was vulnerable to criminal exploitation and Khubaib tried to exploit him for money.
“This was an incredibly distressing incident for both the victim and the victim’s mother, but thankfully both were not injured during the incident and have been given help and support by the police and partner agencies.
“We would encourage anyone who is concerned about any young people to contact the police via 101 and they will be listened to and supported by specialist officers in our Safeguarding Units.”