Gang jailed for 66 years for kidnapping, blackmail and shooting

07/11/2014

A gang has today been sentenced to a total of 66 years and 10 months at Birmingham Crown Court for their part in the kidnapping, blackmail and intimidation of a local businessman.

On 3 January 2014, the victim was leaving his business premises when he was bundled into a van and taken to a house where he was subjected to violent ordeal during which demands were made of him to hand over a large sum of money to his captors.

The victim was eventually released and reported the matter to the police.

Following a police investigation, Tobias Uter, aged 32, Mahmood Abouakkour, 21, Daniel Roberts, 40 and Daniel Wood, 23 were arrested and charged with offences to conspiring to kidnap and blackmail the victim.

Whilst remanded in custody pending trial, Uter and Abouakkour made repeated attempts to intimidate the victim into dropping the charges. These efforts culminated on 11 February 2014 when, at the instigation of Uter and Abouakkour, Karl Williams, 36, and Laura Lamb, 22, travelled to the victim's business address in order to carry out a serious act of witness intimidation. On arrival at the scene, Williams covered his face, approached the premises and discharged a sawn-off shotgun in the entrance. Although members of the public were present inside the premises at the time, no one was injured.

Following an intensive investigation, the police arrested Williams and Lamb who were later jointly charged with offences of attempting to intimidate the victim and possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

Shortly after the trial began, Daniel Roberts and Tobias Uter changed their pleas to guilty in respect of the conspiracy to kidnap and blackmail. Daniel Wood subsequently pleaded guilty to an offence contrary to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
At the conclusion of the five week trial, on 3 November 2014, the Jury returned unanimous verdicts in respect of all defendants. Mahmood Abouakkour was convicted of conspiring with Tobias Uter and Daniel Roberts to kidnap and blackmail. He was also convicted, together with Tobias Uter, of attempting to intimidate the victim by making threats over the telephone on 17 January and by arranging for the shooting to take place on 11 February 2014. Karl Williams and Laura Lamb were convicted jointly of carrying out the shooting and of attempting to intimidate the victim on the same occasion. Karl Williams was additionally convicted of possessing a firearm having served a sentence of seven years imprisonment previously for a similar offence.

The defendants received the following jail terms:

  • Tobias Uter - 18 years and six months
  • Mahmood Abouakkour - 20 years
  • Daniel Roberts - Nine years and 10 months
  • Daniel Wood - Six months
  • Karl Williams - 13 years
  • Laura Lamb - Five years

Emily Lenham, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said:

"The victim in this case was subjected to a traumatic ordeal at the hands of those convicted. However, he showed great courage in coming forward to give evidence, particularly following the repeated attempts by the defendants to deter him from doing so. Without the help of the victim and other prosecution witnesses it would not have been possible to bring these offenders to justice.

"The trial and convictions of these defendants is the result of a long and detailed investigation during which the Crown Prosecution Service has worked closely with the West Midlands Police; demonstrating a joint determination to tackle serious and organised crime.

"The conviction of these defendants sends a message that the perpetrators of violent and organised crime will be investigated and prosecuted and to ensure that victims find a voice within the criminal justice system".