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Bradford man's ‘missing’ woman extortion admitted
A Bradford man has admitted trying to extort £2,000 for the return of a woman believed to be missing by her family.
What dad-of-one Israr Zahir, of Ellercroft Road, Lidget Green, did not know when he rang demanding money for Soffia Nurin’s return in June this year was that her whereabouts were already known to police because she was in one of their safehouses due to domestic violence issues.
The 29-year-old, who pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation and was tracked down by police after the family reported the call, will be sentenced at Bradford Crown Court on October 4.
According to the wording of the charge, Zahir had committed fraud by “purporting to be in the company of Soffia Nurin, who at the time was believed by her family to be missing from home, and that he would return her safely upon receipt of payment, intending to make a gain, of £2,000 in cash.”
Yesterday, magistrates heard how Zahir had heard Mrs Nurin was not at home and came up with the “doomed plan” which involved him buying a mobile phone sim card so his number would not be recognised as he tried to get money out of her family who were best friends with his parents.
Zahir, who was sentenced to two years jail for robbery in 2006, “sang like a canary” making full and frank admissions to police when he was interviewed by police, said his solicitor Malik Siddique.
The woman had told police that Zahir had “no history” with her and she strongly believed he could have been put up to it by a relative of her husband who had previously been involved in trying to blackmail her uncle.
But Zahir had taken full responsibility and had not asked police for any legal representation said Mr Siddique, who asked magistrates not to impose a prison sentence.
He said his client was full of remorse and already in daily punishment having lost face over what he did. As a result Zahir's marriage was “on the rocks,” he said. “Within the community he is the black sheep of the family. He’s almost barred from going to the local mosque because the community knows about it.
“He can be a responsible man but what he did was very stupid. The plan was doomed because he knew the family and it would never have come off anyway because the police had the young woman in their safeguard.”
Chairman of the magistrates bench Jill Barraclough said Zahir’s offence had been “very mean” and needed greater punishment than she could give.
She said: “We are of the opinion there are significant aggravating features of greater harm and culpability.
“There is the vulnerability of the woman, you were also in a position of trust as a friend of the family and then there was pre-mediation. You bought a phone sim so you could not be traced.
“You have a family. You should have known better. It was a mean offence.”