Student tortured by gang who made him hand over life savings in 22-hour kidnap ordeal

Rebecca Speare-Cole
·3-min read
Zakariya Osman and Harris Saqib. (SWNS)
Zakariya Osman and Harris Saqib. (SWNS)

A university student was kidnapped and tortured by a criminal gang who forced him to hand over his life savings in what has been described as a “chilling crime”.

Zakariya Osman, 25, and Harris Saqib, 24, were handed prison sentences totalling 50 years at Leeds Crown Court after subjecting the 21-year-old, who has not been named, to the 22-hour ordeal in October 2019.

Osman and Saqid stubbed cigarettes out on the victim's body, force-fed him tablets and made him drink vodka, the court heard.

The pair also warned their victim — a university student in Leeds — that they would murder him unless he met their demands.

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The court was told the victim had moved to Leeds to study just a month before he was abducted in the early hours of 17 October.

Prosecutor Carmel Pearson said the victim left a nightclub after becoming separated from his friends around 3am.

Osman, Saqib and another man were in a car nearby and lured him into the vehicle before forcing him to hand over his bank card and PIN.

The victim was punched repeatedly after attempts were made to withdraw money from a cash machine and the PIN failed.

Pearson said the attacks became more sadistic over the 22 hours he was kept in the car.

The prosecutor said his recollection of the incident was hazy since 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.

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."

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A total of £4,810 was transferred to the defendants' accounts, the court heard.

But the bank stopped further sums being transferred into the accounts of Saqib's wife and Osman's girlfriend.

The victim later described how Osman — nicknamed “Django” — was the "craziest of them all" and responsible for most of the violence.

Osman told the 22-year-old that he would "take this to an M" with the victim understanding this to mean he was going to be murdered, it was heard.

Osman and Saqib told the student they knew where he lived and would find him if he reported the kidnap.

The victim was allowed to leave the car without any money or his mobile phone at 1am the following morning — almost 24 hours later.

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Pearson said he received hospital treatment for burns and bruises to his face.

The prosecutor 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."

Meanwhile, the student made a statement to the court, describing how he had been left permanently scarred from the injuries.

Both Osman and Saqib pleaded guilty to kidnap and robbery charges.

Judge Tom Bayliss QC handed Osman a 30-year sentence while Saqib was jailed for 20 years.

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."

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