Bitcoin investor schoolboy was kidnapped off Yorkshire street as blackmailers demanded £10,000 for his return

A Bradford schoolboy who had made money trading in Bitcoin and crypto-currency was targeted by a team of kidnappers and bundled into a car before they demanded £10,000 for his return.

The teenager was confronted outside a takeaway in the city in May and after one of the kidnappers put his hand over the boy’s mouth he was punched and forced into the back of Muhammed Khubaib’s Toyota Auris.

Prosecutor Laura McBride told Bradford Crown Court that Khubaib activated the vehicle’s central locking while the boy was sat between two men in the rear of the Auris and the complainant claimed that Khubaib then struck him in the face with a glove containing sand.

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While he was in the car with the four men the boy was told he would have to ring his mum and tell her to hand over “£10,000 or her son wouldn’t be going home”.

Muhammed Khubaib was jailed for four years

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

Miss McBride said it was agreed that 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 boy’s home.

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The incident was subsequently reported to the police and Khubaib, 22, of Florence Street, Bradford, was arrested a few days later.

Khubaib pleaded guilty to charges of kidnap and blackmail, but the court heard that the three other men involved had not be identified or prosecuted.

Khubaib was jailed for four years after the Recorder of Bradford Judge Richard Mansell QC said the youngster had clearly been targeted by the men because social media posts had suggested he had made “a reasonable amount of money” from trading in Bitcoin or other crypto-currency.

Barrister Shufqat Khan, for Khubaib, said his client, who had been in custody since May, 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.

The court heard that 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.