A SCHOOLBOY who traded in Bitcoin was kidnapped by a gang of men who demanded he hand over £10,000 or he “wouldn’t be going home”.
The terrified teen, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was violently snatched outside a takeaway in the Bradford, West Yorks., in May.
After one of the kidnappers put his hand over the boy’s mouth he was punched and forced into the back of a Toyota Auris.
Prosecutor Laura McBride said the victim claimed Khubaib, 22, struck him in the face with a glove filled with sand.
The terrified boy was then told to ring his mum and tell her to hand over “£10,000 or her son wouldn’t be going home”.
He was said to have made “a reasonable amount of money” from trading in Bitcoin or other crypto-currency and had posted about his earnings online.
His mum described how the kidnappers demanded the money on the phone as her son cried in the background.
Miss McBride said the mum agreed to give the men £900 and came out of her home to hand over the cash when Khubaib drove to the boy’s home.
The terrifying ordeal was then reported to the police and Khubaib, from Bradford, was arrested a few days later.
He pleaded guilty to charges of kidnap and blackmail but the court heard the three other men involved had not be identified or prosecuted.
The Recorder of Bradford Judge Richard Mansell QC said the youngster had “clearly been targeted” by the men.
He said they kidnapped him after seeing social media posts had suggested he had made “a reasonable amount of money” from trading in Bitcoin or other crypto-currency.
Investments in cryptocurrencies often promise high returns – with many making their millions through bitcoin – but generally involve taking high risks.
Shufqat Khan, Khubaib’s barrister, said he had been in custody since May and was now learning the hard way that “you are the company you keep”.
He submitted that his client had been carried along by more criminally-minded associates.
But Judge Mansell suggested that Khubaib was a prime mover in the offence because he had been watching the boy in the takeaway and jailed him for four years.
The court heard the victim was no longer living in Bradford and Judge Mansell said the offending had resulted in “profound consequences” for the youngster and his family.
The judge explained that Khubaib would have been jailed for five years after a trial, but his guilty plea and other matters meant that sentence could be reduced to 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.”