Two men sentenced after kidnapping, torturing, and robbing Leeds uni student

The gang tortured him for 22 hours after he left Mission

Two men were sentenced for kidnap and robbery against a 21-year-old Leeds university student on Friday.

Zakariya Osman and Harris Saqib were handed extended prison sentences totalling 50 years after pleading guilty to kidnap and robbery.

The attackers burned cigarettes onto the victim’s face, forced him to consume tablets, vodka, and cannabis, and demanded he hand over his life savings.

The attack took place on 17th October 2019, just a month after the victim had moved to Leeds to study.

Carmel Pearson, prosecuting, said the victim left Mission nightclub after becoming separated from his friends at around 3am. Osman, Saqib and another man were in a car nearby and lured him into the vehicle. He was forced to hand over his bank card and pin number. He was punched repeatedly after attempts were made to withdraw money from a cash machine and the pin number did not work.

Ms Pearson said the attacks became more sadistic as he was kept in the car for around 22 hours. Judge Bayliss, who sentenced the pair, said the attack caused “serious physical and psychological harm” to the victim, who has now quit his degree and moved out of Leeds.

Whilst he was tortured, cigarettes were used to burn his face, arms and body. Prosecution told the court the victim’s recollection of the incident was hazy as he had been forced to swallow tablets, drink vodka and smoke cannabis.

The men ordered him to ring his bank and transfer around £10,000 from his savings account, current account and an ISA.

Ms Pearson said: “Because of the large amount of money he was asked many questions by people at the bank and it was a slow process. He was nervous that the bank would sense the tension in his voice on the telephone.

“The whole time he was attacked and forced to persuade the bank of the legitimacy of the transfers.”

A total of £4,810 was transferred in the defendants’ accounts, but the bank stopped any further transactions for Saquib’s wife’s and Osman’s girlfriends’ accounts.

The victim said Osman was the “craziest of the all” and was nicknamed “Django”. Osman told the victim he would “take this to an M”, which the victim understood to mean murder.

Money was transferred into Osman and Saquib’s accounts as they believed he would not tell police after they threatened that they knew where the victim lived and would find him if he reported the incident.

The victim was allowed to leave the car at 1am the next morning, without money or his mobile phone.

He received hospital treatment for his injures, but told the courts he has been left permanently scarred from his wounds.

The victim attempted to continue with university, but had to leave. Ms Pearson said:”He had to leave university and Leeds despite attempting to carry on as normal. He found the stress and pressure of being in Leeds and his studies overwhelming.”

Osman pleaded guilty to two other offences of robbery. One in which he stabbed a victim five times in the stomach in Huddersfield town centre. The victim threw himself over police station gates to raise the alarm. Another, where he threatened to shank a man in a car if he did not give him money, then stabbed him three times.

Judge Tom Bayliss QC gave Osman, of no fixed address, a 30-year extended prison sentence, made up of a 25-year custodial term followed by a five-year extended licence period.

Saqib, of no fixed address was handed a 20-year extended prison sentence made up of a custodial period of 17-and-a-half years followed by a two-and-a-half-year extended licence period.

Judge Bayliss said: “All robberies are serious but the robbery and kidnap of (the student) is a chilling crime.

“It was committed against a young man whose life has been changed by your actions. Changed to the extent that his university degree course has had to be abandoned, changed to the extent that he will never be able to walk the streets with any confidence any more.

“What he went through was unimaginable. You caused serious physical and psychological harm to your victim.”