A McDonalds manager and his two brothers have been jailed for bundling a driver into a car and forcing him to withdraw cash from an ATM machine following a collision.
Leon Haq, Islam Haq and Bilal Haq had all pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to charges of kidnapping and robbery following the incident in Warwick in March this year.
But at a further hearing all three pleaded guilty to the robbery, and the kidnapping charge was allowed to lie on the file.
And following a further adjournment, Leon Haq (25) of St Gregory’s Road, Stratford, and Islam Haq (26) of St Helens Road, Leamington, were both jailed for four years and two months.
Youngest brother Bilal Haq (19) of Shakespeare Avenue, Warwick, who had just a criminal damage offence on his record, was jailed for two years and 11 months.
Prosecutor Andrew Wilkins said that at 4.50pm on March 25 a man got into his Chevrolet Cruze car in Shakespeare Avenue and pulled out in front of a Bilal’s Vauxhall Corsa.
Bilal, with Islam as his passenger, reacted by overtaking him and cutting back in, causing a collision between the two cars.
Islam got out and jumped onto the man’s car, threatening to shoot him and his family unless he paid £1,000, and Leon then arrived and made similar threats, after which their victim went to the nearest cash machine and withdrew £200.
“At that stage all three of them force him into their car which is now being driven by Leon, and the other two get into his car and take a number of tools of some value,” said Mr Wilkins.
He was then driven around as the brothers discussed how much he owed, whether the work tools taken from his car meet the value of their demand, and which cash machine to go to for him to withdraw more money.
But other people had seen the incident, which had taken place in broad daylight, and one man had tried to intervene while a woman took a picture of Bilal’s car and passed it to the police.
As a result officers were quickly able to stop the Corsa, free their victim and arrest Leon, who still had the £200 in his pocket, and Islam and Bilal were arrested later.
Mr Wilkins said that in a statement the victim, who works as a self-employed landscape gardener, said the impact of what had happened only really hit home a week later.
He has had trouble sleeping and has become short-tempered which has affected his relationship with his partner, and as well as the £4,000 damage to his car, tools worth £300 had been taken and he had lost work as a result.
Mr Wilkins added that Islam had a number of previous convictions, including five for violence, and Leon had convictions for offences including robbery and assault, but Bilal had just one offence as a youth for causing damage.
Harbinder Lally, defending, said: “They’re three brothers who committed this horrific offence. It matters not whether the complainant was the cause of the accident, that is irrelevant.
“Leon Haq knows he has completely messed up. He knows he’s the adult figure after they lost their father-figure at an early age.”
Mr Lally said Leon was the manager of a McDonalds branch and was about to be responsible for two branches, including the one in Leamington.
“He has been in trouble before, but when he arrived at the scene this matter would not be where it is now if it was not for his reaction.
“Sadly it went completely out of control, and he’s dragged his two brothers into the offence. The incident shouldn’t have happened, that’s the reality of it. Now all three brothers are in custody, and have been since the offence.
“Islam also had a responsibility towards his younger brother, and he too regrets it. His wife has written a letter in which she says he’s not that sort of person, although his previous convictions indicate that he is,” conceded Mr Lally.
He added that Bilal was generally quiet, and had no doubt acted out of misplaced loyalty towards his older brothers.
Jailing the three, Judge Peter Cooke told them: “Anybody who drives a car on the public roads will, even if they’re a careful and sensible driver, do something from time to time that irritates another motorist.
“We’ve all done it, you’ve all done it. Ordinarily it will result in nothing more than a beep of the horn or a gesticulation of abuse.
“But you let a trivial incident like that escalate out of all proportion. You used it as an excuse to terrorise a man for a protracted period. You Leon turned up and took the leading role.
“He was ordered to go to a cashpoint and withdraw £200, and you were issuing threats not just to him, but to his family.
“He wasn’t to know when he was threatened that his family would be shot that you were the manager of two McDonalds.
“It has had not just the effect of terrorising him on the day, it has had lasting consequences.
“It has made him irritable and tetchy and has impacted on his personal life, and you caused serious detrimental damage to his business as a landscape gardener by stealing his tools.”
Judge Cooke added that he would treat Bilal as someone of good character, because his ‘one previous brush with the law is not a relevant matter.’