Shopkeeper spared prison after kidnap hoax

By Chris Willmott 28/06 Updated: 29/06 09:34

A SHOPKEEPER triggered a £10,000 police investigation when he pretended to have been kidnapped so a huge ransom demand could be made to his distressed Solihull family.

But after hearing that Kamran Ahmed suffers from bipolar disorder and was being pressured for money at the time, a judge decided it was not necessary to jail him.

Ahmed (29) of Bath Street, Leamington, had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to attempting to pervert the course of justice.

He was sentenced to nine months in prison suspended for two years and was ordered to do 300 hours of unpaid work.

Prosecutor Richard Franck said that on 9 December 2010 Ahmed’s brother Haroon and his sister, a junior doctor, both received texts saying: “He’s with us. We want £400,000.”

Haroon, who was at the shop Ahmed owned and ran in Leamington, then received a series of calls on the shop phone.

In one call Haroon, of Hobs Moat Road, Solihull, was told: “Listen carefully. We have Kamran. We want £400,000 or we’ll kill him.”

There were further calls the following day from a man who said that Ahmed owed him several thousand pounds.

Ahmed’s family, including Haroon and their parents, who also live in Hobs Moat Road, were extremely distressed, believing he had been kidnapped, and contacted the police.

There followed an extensive police investigation using specialist techniques before Ahmed was found – safe and well and sitting in a pub in York.

But despite the anguish he had caused his family, Ahmed’s first reaction was to ask the police not to tell them where he was.

When he was questioned he said he had been threatened with death by a man called Ginger over a load of cheap alcohol which had gone missing on its way to his shop.

He said Ginger claimed he owed him £190,000 for the booze and that he had paid £40,000 but could not raise any more.

Ahmed, who had no previous convictions, said he had gone missing and got friends to make the bogus ransom demands hoping it would lead to Ginger being arrested.

Mr Franck added that had led to the arrest of a man called Sajit Hussain, but it was realised straight away that he was ‘a wholly innocent party’ and he was released.

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