Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Leeds gang tortured teen for £20,000 ransom

A gang who kidnapped and tortured a schoolboy by burning him with a hot iron have been jailed for 40 years.

The teenager also had boiling water poured over his legs during the "extremely disturbing" five-hour ordeal at a house in Belle Isle, Leeds.

Shaheed Rahman, 24, of Harehills Avenue, Chapeltown, Leeds, and Syed Ahmed, also 24, of Park Holme, Harehills, Leeds, admitted conspiring to kidnap the boy and blackmail his family as part of a "drugs debt", Leeds Crown Court heard.

The gang, which included brothers Shuel Ali Hussain, 28, and Hassan Ahmed, 25, both of Karnac Road, Chapeltown, and Abdul Rajaque, 29, of Shepherd's Place, Chapeltown, also threatened to kill the boy and cut off his fingers unless they were paid a £20,000 ransom.

The terrified 16-year-old was bundled into a van as he walked home from a takeaway in Harehills on April 30 last year, and driven to a house on Winrose Hill, Belle Isle, where he was burnt eight times with the iron.

He also had a carrier bag and a pillow case placed over his head, was scalded with boiling water, threatened with a knife and punched during the ordeal, with the gang phoning his brother several times to demand the money.

After they were jailed for a total of 40 years, Hussain became violent and aggressive in the dock, swearing at the judge and accusing him of racism – a reaction which showed his "true colours", according to police.

Jailing them, Judge Rodney Grant said: "There was violence and he (the victim] was tortured. There is no other word which can be used.

"He was handcuffed and then subjected to scalding hot water being poured over his leg. A hot iron was applied to his leg on eight occasions and that must have been excruciatingly painful and terrifying for him as well."

Referring to the ransom, he added: "A threat was made that in the refusal of payment, this victim, a 16-year-old boy, would be murdered and mutilated.

"His fingers would be cut off, he would be sent back in pieces. These threats must have had a terrifying effect on his family."

The court heard how police initially went to the house in Belle Isle after receiving a phone call from a worried neighbour, who reported hearing "shouts and screams".

But Rahman persuaded the 16-year-old to lie about what had happened and he gave a false name to officers, who left the property despite recovering items including balaclavas, handcuffs and a kitchen knife.

Police returned later that night when they heard of the kidnap, reported by the victim's brother, and arrested Syed Ahmed at the scene.

Rahman escaped through a window and was arrested a short time later.

Judge Grant jailed Rahman for a total of 12 years and nine months, while Syed Ahmed received a 12 year sentence.

Hussain was jailed for nine years after admitting conspiracy to blackmail and will serve an additional year after pleading guilty to drugs charges.

Rajaque, who played a lesser role, was jailed for five years and three months for conspiracy to blackmail.

Hassan Ahmed will be sentenced on March 22 to allow for the completion of a risk assessment for danger.

Another suspect, Ibrahim Majid – known as "Biggie Brian" – is believed to have fled to Bangladesh.

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