"They made it very clear it was a homophobic attack."
Three 18-year-olds from Birmingham have been jailed for using Grindr to lure gay men to a park before robbing and humiliating them in homophobic attacks.
The four victims responded to fake accounts on the dating app. At a park in Bordesley Green, they were ambushed.
The victims were then subjected to horrific attacks, which included being assaulted, robbed, urinated on and tied up. Meanwhile, the teenagers filmed the degrading attacks.
Caroline Carberry QC, prosecuting, told Birmingham Crown Court:
“These were well planned, violent and degrading crimes which deliberately targeted gay men who they viewed to be soft targets.”
The attacks took place between January and March 2019.
One victim’s ordeal lasted for two hours. One of his attackers used a screwdriver to repeatedly stab his jacket and he was threatened with being stabbed in the eye.
He was then spat and urinated on, tied up, his trousers were pulled down and the gang videoed his genitals, making derogatory comments.
Some of the attackers then stole clothing and phones from the victim’s flat.
In a statement, the victim said he thought he was going to die and that he found it “distressing and embarrassing” that the video could be circulated.
He added: “They made it very clear it was a homophobic attack.”
Another victim said: “I expected to be stabbed at any time. I was forced to lie down in the dirt with my hands and legs bound.
“I did not know whether I would see my family again.”
As a result of the attack, the man was forced to reveal his sexuality to his family.
Judge Heidi Kubic QC said that one victim was threatened with having his head superimposed onto a video of a paedophile.
She told Mohammed Khan, Mohammed Umar and Qaasim Ahmad:
“The victims were sufficiently terrified to give you what they wanted, their car keys, phones, wallets, bank cards and pin numbers.”
“You regularly booked hotel rooms where you could meet up and enjoy the spoils of your offending.
“The impact of the offending on each of the victims is long-lasting and serious indeed. It will remain with them for the rest of their lives.”
The group were caught following evidence on their mobile phones. CCTV and ATM’s where they used bank cards stolen from their victims also connected them.
Khan and Umar admitted conspiracy to rob and conspiracy to commit a burglary. Ahmad was found guilty of the same charges and conspiracy to falsely imprison.
Judge Kubic told them:
“You deliberately degraded and humiliated your victims. They had the courage to come forward and publicise their ordeal.
“I am quite satisfied all four men were targeted because they were gay men.”
“You had set up fake Grindr accounts to lure them to secluded areas.
“You subjected your victims to serious physical assaults and you threatened them with various weapons, including a large hunting knife, a screwdriver and you used a metal bar to inflict injuries.”
Birmingham Mail reported that Khan and Ahmad were both sentenced to 13 years and four months detention. Umar received a sentence of 11 years and three months.
Michael Dinsey, of the CPS, said:
“The defendants targeted the victims in this case because they believed they would be too ashamed of their sexual orientation to provide evidence to the police and court.
“The defendants did not take into account that there is no shame in being gay and they did not anticipate the courage and bravery of the victims, who showed remarkable strength in reliving the horrific brutality of the defendants’ actions against them.
“These convictions and sentences demonstrate that homophobia will not be tolerated by our society and the Criminal Justice system.
“The CPS will fully support victims of such crimes and bring perpetrators of such offences to trial.”