Birmingham man Zubair Hussain jailed for faking his own kidnap
Heather Saul is a digital reporter for The Independent, currently working on the People desk. She has written news and features across a number of topics, paying particular attention to the activities of Isis and events in Iraq, Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
Saturday 28 September 2013
A Birmingham man has jailed for eight months for blackmailing his family by faking his own kidnap.
Zubair Hussain appeared before Warwickshire Justice Centre on Friday and pleaded guilty to charges of blackmail.
The court heard that Hussain's family had received text messages on the evening of 31 December claiming that the 24-year-old had been kidnapped.
A demand for money was made in the messages to ensure his safe return, along with pictures of Hussain lying on a bed, a bag over his head and with his wrists seemingly bound.
The alleged kidnapping was reported to police, who launched a large scale investigation with city detectives. Hussain was discovered alive and well 24 hours later in the Ernsford Grange area of Coventry. West Midlands Police said there was no trace of anyone holding him against his will.
Hussain, of Sparkbrook, was subsequently arrested on suspicion of blackmail and was charged with the offence in April.
Detective Inspector Martin Brennan, from West Midlands Police Serious and Organised Crime Unit, said: “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."
Hussain sent this picture of himself to convince his family of his kidnap
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