A MAN accused of helping to kidnap a 14-year-old boy before demanding a £40,000 ransom from his family has admitted to a jury the operation was a ‘scam’.
But he added that it was not planned and a ‘spur of the moment’ act.
Liban Mohammed, aged 20, of Balfour Drive, Darnall, was allegedly part of a four-strong gang which snatched the schoolboy from outside an off-licence in Darnall before forcing him into a car and driving him to Ringinglow.
Jurors at Sheffield Crown Court were told the abductors demanded a £40,000 ransom and even threatened to chop the youngster’s head off.
Giving evidence, Mohammed said the kidnapping was staged, describing it as a ‘scam all the way through’.
He said he believed the boy’s father was a drug dealer and that he would be able to offer a large sum of money for his child’s safe return.
“It was about getting a bit of money out of his dad,” Mohammed said.
He added that the boy ‘set it all up’, and claimed the teen was involved in drugs as well. “I’ve seen him with a few bags of weed,” Mohammed added.
“There was no plan, it was just spur of the moment. I don’t kidnap people. It was a scam, all the way through.”
The prosecution say the boy had a hood placed over his head, and was forced to make phone calls to his father and mother relaying his abductors’ ransom demands.
Jurors were told the kidnappers dropped the ransom to £2,000 when the boy’s parents failed to raise the money, and that the victim was released at around midnight.
But Mohammed said ‘the whole point’ of the operation was to ensure it appeared a genuine kidnapping was taking place.
Alistair MacDonald QC, prosecuting, told Mohammed: “Making it look like this child had been kidnapped, and making all these bloodcurdling demands for money from his father, caused appalling anguish to his family.”
The barrister then asked him: “Did it ever cross your mind the shocking anguish your plan would be causing to his mother?”
Mohammed replied: “She is going to react like that to a kidnap, but it was a staged kidnap. I wasn’t thinking at that moment.”
Mohammed denies kidnapping and blackmail along with Anjam Shaffique, 30 of Sandford Grove, Nether Edge; Carlos Treazure, 27, of Norfolk Road, Norfolk Park; and Abdal Miah, 29, of no fixed address.
The trial continues.