Birmingham man has been jailed for blackmailing his family – by faking kidnap
A BIRMINGHAM man has been jailed for blackmailing his family – by claiming he had been kidnapped and was being held by men threatening to kill him.
Zubair Hussain appeared before Warwickshire Justice Centre where he was sentenced to eight months imprisonment, after police unravelled a web of lies he spun in order to extort money from relatives on New Years’ Eve last year.
As people were waiting to see in 2013, the family of Hussain received text messages claiming that the 24-year-old had been kidnapped.
The series of messages demanded money in order to ensure he did not come to harm. To make the claims believable, Hussain – a driver from Sparkbrook – even sent picture messages of himself lying on a bed with a bag over his head and his wrists apparently bound.
The kidnapping was reported to police and a large-scale investigation was launched by city detectives. Some 24 hours later Hussain was tracked to a house in the Ernsford Grange area of Coventry. The 24-year-old was safe and well and there was no trace of anyone holding him against his will.
Hussain was subsequently arrested on suspicion of blackmail and was charged with the offence in April.
Nine months after making the audacious claims, Hussain pleaded guilty to the charge and was sentenced to eight months imprisonment.
Detective Inspector Martin Brennan, from West Midlands Police Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: “This case highlights what can happen when someone makes false accusations and wastes police time in such an audacious manner.
“Any report of kidnap is treated very seriously and significant, costly, resources are deployed to ensure the victim is returned safe and well, whilst those responsible are detained.
“To recklessly make such claims not only wastes police resources which could have been used elsewhere but caused his family and friends unnecessary distress.
“The family believed that Zubair had been kidnapped and that there was a real possibility of him being seriously harmed or even killed.
“Hopefully this prison sentence demonstrates that such incidents will be dealt with robustly by the courts and should act as a deterrent to others.”
The images show the photographs sent by Hussain to his family.