Man jailed for kidnapping boy who was said to have made money from bitcoin

Fourteen-year-old was bundled into car in Bradford by gang who wanted £10,000 ransom, court heard

A schoolboy who was thought to have made money trading in bitcoin was kidnapped by a gang who demanded £10,000 for his safe return, a court heard.

The 14-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was confronted outside a takeaway in Bradford in May and bundled into a car.

After one of the kidnappers put his hand over the boy’s mouth, the child was punched and forced into the back of a Toyota Auris.

Muhammed Khubaib, who owned the car, activated the vehicle’s central locking as the boy sat between two men in the back.

Khubaib, 22, then punched him in the face with a glove containing sand, Bradford crown court heard.

The prosecutor Laura McBride said the boy was told he would have to phone his mother and tell her to hand over “£10,000 or her son wouldn’t be going home”.

The boy’s mother was called and she described how the kidnappers demanded money while her son was crying, the court heard.

McBride said it was agreed the mother would give the men £900 and she came out of her home to hand over the cash when Khubaib drove the Auris to the house.

The incident was subsequently reported to the police and Khubaib was arrested a few days later.

He pleaded guilty to charges of kidnap and blackmail, but the court heard that the three other men involved had not been identified or prosecuted. Khubaib was sentenced to four years.

The recorder of Bradford, Judge Richard Mansell QC, said the boy had “clearly been targeted” by the men.

He said they kidnapped him after seeing social media posts that suggested he had made “a reasonable amount of money” from trading in bitcoin or other cryptocurrency.

The court heard the victim was no longer living in Bradford and Mansell said the offending had resulted in “profound consequences” for the youngster and his family.

Speaking after sentencing, DC Paul Maxwell of West Yorkshire police 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.”


Helen Pidd and agency

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Cryptocurrency trader 'forced at gunpoint to make bitcoin transfer'
Police seek witnesses after four armed men break into family home in Moulsford, Oxfordshire

Maev Kennedy

28, Jan, 2018 @5:47 PM

Article image
Bitcoin worth £900,000 seized from hacker to compensate victims
Judge told Grant West he would face four more years in jail if he refused to comply

Mattha Busby

23, Aug, 2019 @12:51 PM

Article image
Police find bitcoin mine using stolen electricity in West Midlands
Officers expected to discover a cannabis farm when they raided building on industrial estate

Jasper Jolly

28, May, 2021 @1:38 PM

Article image
UK accounts for largest share of darknet fentanyl sales in Europe
Oxford academics say sales of synthetic opioid drug are proliferating on illicit websites, with Britain a significant player

Sarah Marsh

16, Oct, 2017 @11:02 AM

Article image
Bitcoin: what have experts said about the cryptocurrency?
The most memorable comments on the cryptocurrency from senior figures in world finance

Julia Kollewe

08, Feb, 2018 @5:02 PM

Article image
Craig Wright: scepticism surrounds bitcoin inventor's identification
Despite assertion by an Australian entrepreneur that he is Satoshi Nakamoto, critics demand technical proof

Caroline Davies and Michael Safi

02, May, 2016 @4:14 PM

Article image
Waste from one bitcoin transaction ‘like binning two iPhones’
Study highlights vast churn in computer hardware that the cryptocurrency incentivises

Alex Hern UK technology editor

17, Sep, 2021 @6:00 AM

Article image
Bitcoin investors could lose all their money, FCA warns
UK financial watchdog spells out risk for those participating in initial coin offerings using cryptocurrencies

Patrick Collinson

12, Sep, 2017 @1:48 PM

Article image
Marcus Rashford's name falsely used in bitcoin ads
Premier League footballer is latest celebrity to have name used without their knowledge

Hilary Osborne

30, Nov, 2020 @2:07 PM

Article image
Bitcoin price falls below $6,000 as banker signals crackdown
BIS head says cryptocurrency is a ‘Ponzi scheme’ that poses a threat to financial stability

Angela Monaghan

06, Feb, 2018 @10:25 AM