Three men jailed for attacking cannabis courier - St Albans

23/08/2017

A St Albans man, who was expecting to meet a woman for an illicit liaison, was confronted by two Luton drug dealing brothers who wanted to punish him for throwing away their cocaine.

Twins Atif Iqbal and Amer Iqbal, aged 24, heard the victim and the woman had made contact through the Plenty of Fish dating website and used that as a trap to catch him. He was waiting in his Corsa in a St Albans street at midnight when the twins, along with Waqaas Hussain, aged 21, and the victim's girlfriend arrived in a Ford Mondeo.

St Albans Crown Court heard today, Wednesday, 23 August 2017, that Atif was driving the Mondeo, which had no lights on. Amer was hanging out of a window waving a metal baseball bat. The victim drove off in the Corsa, but was chased at up to 80 miles per hour along Sparrowswick Rise and Harpenden Road. Amer used the bat to smash the rear window of the Corsa, which was being blocked off by the Mondeo and crashed into a tree, becoming a write-off. The girlfriend was left with the Corsa while the victim was hit over the head and driven to a wood near Nomansland Common, where he was attacked.

Peter Shaw, prosecuting for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said the victim was a cannabis user who had met the brothers to buy cannabis. In November last year he lost his job and was struggling financially. "The brothers assisted him with money, but wanted a return. They wanted him to move drugs and take them to drop off points. He was told he owed them £1,100. On 18 February he was given a bag of cannabis which he suspected also contained cocaine. He phoned Amer and said he was going to throw it away and said he was no longer going to be moving drugs."

The victim ended up at his girlfriend's house and was taken by taxi to the Luton and Dunstable hospital where he was treated. Hussain was arrested in early hours of the morning and the twins handed themselves into the police on 6 March.

The Iqbal twins, from Weatherby Road, Luton, and Hussain, who lives in a different house in Weatherby Road, Luton, all admitted affray. The Iqbals also admitted dangerous driving. Atif Iqbal was in breach of a 8 month jail sentence suspended for 2 years for possessing Class A and B drugs with intent to supply.

Recorder Robin Allen QC sentenced Atif Iqbal to 33 months and banned him from driving for 12 months from his release from prison. Amer Iqbal received 27 months and was also banned from driving for 12 months from his release. Hussain was sentenced to 25 months.

The Judge told them: "This was a cowardly attack - three men ganging up on one who has been removed from all support he has. It was highly premeditated. You did it because you wished to harm him. The violence involved was outrageous. You would not wish it to be directed at yourselves, your family members or friends."

In addition to the custodial sentences, a £1,000 compensation order was made against each of defendants, which they have 5 years to pay. All three were also made the subject of a restraining order banning them from contacting the victim, his girlfriend and another witness.

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