'A chilling crime': Leeds university student kidnapped during night out then tortured by robbery gang who burned him with cigarettes during sadistic 22-hour ordeal

A Leeds university student was kidnapped during a night out then tortured for almost 24 hours by a criminal gang who forced him to give them his life savings.

Friday, 26th March 2021, 6:08 pm
Updated Friday, 26th March 2021, 6:12 pm

The 21-year-old had cigarettes stubbed out on his face and body as he was subjected to a sadistic and degrading attack.

The victim was force-fed tablets, made to drink vodka and told he would be murdered unless he complied with their demands.

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

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Zakariya Osman (left) was given a 30-year prison sentence and Harris Saqib was given a 20-year sentence for kidnapping a robbing a Leeds university student.

A judge who sentenced the pair today at Leeds Crown Court described the incident as "a chilling crime".

The victim had moved to Leeds to study just a month before the abduction in the early hours of October 17, 2019.

Carmel Pearson, prosecuting, said the victim left Mission 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.

Zakariya Osman

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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.

Harris Saqib

Cigarettes were used to burn his face, arms and body.

The prosecutor said the victim's recollection of the incident were 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.

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

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.

Osman and Saqib had money paid into bank accounts in their own names as they were convinced the victim would not tell police.

They 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.

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

The student described in a statement to the court 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.

One involved an attack on a man who he stabbed five times in the stomach as he robbed him of cash in Huddersfield town centre.

The victim of that attack threw himself over the gates of a police station to raise the alarm.

A further robbery took place in Bradford where he threatened his victim in a car.

Osman told the man: "I'm going to shank you right here if you do not give me everything you have got."

Osman then stabbed him three times and punched him in the head.

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."