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University student, 21, was kidnapped and tortured by gang, court hears 

A university student was kidnapped on a night out before being tortured by a criminal gang who forced him to hand over his life savings, a court heard.  

The 21-year-old university student in Leeds – who has not been named for legal reasons – was subjected to the horrific 22-hour ordeal in October 2019. 

Attackers Zakariya Osman, 25, and Harris Saqib, 24, stubbed cigarettes out on the victim’s body, force-fed him tablets and made him drink vodka.

He was forced to call his bank, demanding the transfer of £10,000 from his accounts into theirs.

The pair warned their victim that they would murder him unless he met their demands, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Osman and Saqib were handed 30-year and 20-year sentences respectively on Friday after pleading guilty to kidnap and robbery.

Attackers Zakariya Osman, 25, and Harris Saqib, 24, (pictured) stubbed cigarettes out on the victim's body, force-fed him tablets and made him drink vodka

A university student was kidnapped on a night out before being tortured by a criminal gang who forced him to hand over his life savings, a court heard. Attackers Zakariya Osman, 25, (left) and Harris Saqib, 24, (right) stubbed cigarettes out on the victim’s body, force-fed him tablets and made him drink vodka

Sentencing, Judge Tom Bayliss QC described the ordeal as ‘a chilling crime’.

The court was told that the victim – who had moved to Leeds to study just a month earlier – was kidnapped in the early hours of October 17, 2019.

He left a nightclub after becoming separated from his friends around 3am, prosecutor Carmel Pearson said.

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 number.

He was punched repeatedly after attempts were made to withdraw money from a cash machine and the pin number did not work, the court heard.

Ms Pearson said the attacks became more sadistic as he was kept in the car for around 22 hours.

The prosecutor said 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 to the defendants’ accounts, the court heard.

The bank stopped further sums being transferred into Saqib’s wife’s account and Osman’s girlfriend’s account.

The kidnappers warned their victim that they would murder him unless he met their demands, Leeds Crown Court (pictured) heard

The kidnappers warned their victim that they would murder him unless he met their demands, Leeds Crown Court (pictured) heard

The victim later described how Osman – nicknamed ‘Django’ – was the ‘craziest of them all’ and responsible for most of the violence.

During the incident, Osman told the victim he would ‘take this to an M’. 

The victim understood that 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.

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

The student told the court in a statement how he had been left permanently scarred from the injuries.

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.’

Osman also pleaded guilty to two further offences of robbery.

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

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.’


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