Teenager seized and hauled into car after posting on social media about earning ‘reasonable amount of money’ trading cryptocurrency
A 14-year-old schoolboy who is thought to have made money trading in Bitcoin was kidnapped by a gang who demanded £10,000 in ransom money, a court heard.
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was kidnapped outside of a Bradford takeaway in May.
He was punched and forced into the back of a Toyota Auris, owned by 22-year-old Muhammed Khubaib.
Khubaib locked the car then hit the boy, who was sat between two men, with a sand-filled glove, Bradford Crown Court heard on Thursday.
Prosecutor Laura McBride said the boy was then told to ring his mum and tell her to pay the kidnappers “£10,000 or her son wouldn’t be going home”.
The boy’s mother described how the kidnappers called her and demanded money while her son cried, the court heard.
The mother agreed to pay the men £900, which she handed to Khubaib outside of her home.
The kidnapping was subsequently reported to the police and Khubaib was arrested days later.
He pleaded guilty to charges of kidnap and blackmail and was jailed for four years.
The court heard three other men involved in the kidnapping had not yet been identified.
Judge Richard Mansell QC described how the boy had “clearly been targeted” by the gang.
He said the boy was kidnapped as his social media posts suggested he had made “a reasonable amount of money” from trading in bitcoin and other cryptocurrency.
The court heard the victim moved away from Bradford and the kidnapping had resulted in “profound consequences” for him and his family.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Constable Paul Maxwell of West Yorkshire police said: “We welcome the sentence which has been passed down to Khubaib today at court.
“A vítima, 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.”