Football agent faces jail over kidnap and torture of a father of one
Former Manchester City footballer Kelvin Etuhu’s brother faces jail over gangland kidnapping and torture of man mistaken for drug lord
- Football agent Michael Etuhu arranged for the kidnapping of a major drug dealer
- The gang abducted the wrong person who they tasered in the testicles
- They also attacked the victim, father of one Haider Mahmood with a blow torch
- The gang dressed as police officers to ‘arrest’ their victim ahead of his torture
The older brother of former Manchester City footballer Kelvin Etuhu was facing jail today after he helped organise a gangland ‘torture’ kidnapping for a £500,000 ransom.
Football agent Michael Etuhu, 35, recruited a team of thugs to abduct a man and hold him hostage in the mistaken belief he was a multi-millionaire crime lord.
Father of one Haider Mahmood was snatched off the street as he left a trendy barbers shop after his abductors posed as policemen to detain and handcuff him in a fake arrest.
Michael Etuhu, pictured, helped organise a kidnap gang who held a man hostage and tortured him in the mistaken belief that their victim was a multi-millionaire crime lord. The gang held the man at gunpoint, scalded him with a blow torch and even tasered his testicles
The victim who is in his 30s was driven to an industrial unit where he was held at gunpoint, scalded with a blow torch and given 50,000 volt electric shocks to his testicles whilst a cement mixer operated nearby to drown out his screams.
During his ordeal, Mahmood was told: ‘We know who you are and what you do. Get us everything that we want and everything will be alright.
‘We know where your wife is, where your mum is, where your dad is. We know where your house is. You know what this is about. Your people have f..ked my people over.’
His wife was subsequently told to hand over £100,000 in cash plus £400,000 worth of heroin and cocaine but police were called. Armed officers later stormed the gang’s stronghold after tracing the whereabouts of a mobile phone used by Etuhu and the other kidnappers.
Mahmood, from Old Trafford, Manchester was released after 12 hours in captivity and was heard to telling the officers: ‘You’ve saved my life.’
Etuhu is the brother of former Manchester City footballer Kelvin Ethuhu, pictured
He suffered a bump to his head, a mark on his nose and reddening on his arms with inquiries revealing the gang had been keeping watch on him by bugging his Audi S4 sports car with two tracking devices.
One of the abductors told police: ‘He just looked like a f..king petrified bloke. The cement mixer was there to drown the noise. I heard him scream: ‘Don’t burn me’. He said father of two Etuhu – known as ‘Big Mike’ and a friend ‘owned the job.’
At Manchester Crown Court, Etuhu, 35, of Tyldesley, whose 31-year old brother played for City until 2011 when he was jailed over a casino brawl, admitted conspiracy to kidnap and plotting blackmail. John Bishop, 31, of London, Ben Ukaegbu, 38, of no fixed address Daniel Lowe, 27, of Northampton and Nicky Barnes, also 27 and from Northampton admitted similar charges.
The 10am abduction was carried out on April 11 after Etuhu and his friend named as Courtney Freeman wrongly believed Mahmood was a ‘major-league drug dealer worth millions’. They drafted in a gang based 150 miles away in Northampton and paid for hotels to be booked for them to stay ahead of the kidnap.
The kidnappers staked out Mahmood house ordered fake police uniforms and police road closures signs. Then after a call from Etuhu they followed Mahmood in a convoy of three vehicles fitted with false number plates as the victim went to get his haircut at Snipz barbers in Hale, near Altrincham.
Henry Blackshaw prosecuting said: ‘As he approached his car, three men dressed as police officers wearing tunics and utility vests) and such details as earpieces with clear lead connections took hold of Mahmood telling him he was under arrest on suspicion of Class A drug dealing.
Manchester Crown Court heard the gang were dressed in fake police uniforms
‘He was handcuffed then then placed in the back of an Audi A6 and he was driven to a back street with the defendants saying this was because there was no room at a police custody facility. By now Mahmood was starting to suspect that things weren’t right.’
The car then rendezvoused with a VW van where the kidnappers produced a gun and bundled Mahmood into the back of the vehicle with two pillowcases over his head. Mr Blackshaw added: ‘When they went to the stronghold Mahmood heard the sound of shutters going up and a cement mixer being started which was running to cover any noise made by him.
‘He was sat down, handcuffed to an office chair and told not to look up or his eyes would be poked out. The blowtorch came out straight away his right arm and hair was singed while he still had the handcuffs on. After the blow torch he was asked ‘How much are you going to get me?’
‘He was tasered in his testicles through his clothing and on his arms and he was also punched and slapped. Luckily the gas ran out of the blowtorch but Mahmood states he was scared for his life. He was told that part of the background to this was that the kidnap gang had a vendetta against people close to him.’
The kidnappers one of whom disguised himself in a red skeleton mask with teeth used the victim’s phone to ring his brother in law who works at a burger bar in West Yorkshire.
The shocked brother-in-law was told: ‘I’m going to give you a postcode and just come if you want to see your man here again. You need to drop one hundred bag [slang for £000] at that postcode. If you don’t, we know where his wife is, we know where he lives’.
Another friend was called and the gang placed the mobile phone on loud speaker so Mahmood’s yells of pain could be heard as he was being electrocuted with the taser. he was told: ‘If you don’t come or there’s any funny business, I’ll burn his face and scar him for life. His son will find out’.
The demand was for a toal £500,000, consisting of £100,000 in cash ten kilos each of heroin and cocaine, which at wholesale prices of £20k/kilo would have been worth £400k. Mahmood’s wife was then contacted by her brother and she subsequently called police.
The court heard that Etuhu acted as an agent for his brother Kelvin Etuhu, pictured, who used to play for Manchester City
Officers stormed the gangs hideout at 10.30pm and arrested two of the kidnappers as they were guarding the victim. Police recovered a 4.5 mm air pistol in the style of a Heckler and Koch slide action 9mm pistol.
‘The guards were found in possession of the key to the handcuffs, scraps of paper which had the postcode for the initial ransom delivery address plus a cannister of pepper spray. The blowtorch was found in a Sports Direct bag along with a roll of duct tape and a hypodermic syringe with a red coloured liquid in it together with other empty syringes.
In mitigation for Etuhu, defence lawyer Miss Guinevere Reed said: ‘This was on offence truly out of character behaviour when one considers he’s been studying, schooling and working. He got nine GCSEs, and A levels in English literature and went to Northampton university.
‘He is a very creative person and writes short stories. He started working as a football agent as both his brothers are professional footballers. and started out by doing their contracts as they both played for Manchester City.
‘That then led him into working with other footballers and other players. His younger brother still is a footballer but his eldest brother has retired so they set up an agency together. ‘
Miss Reed added: ‘He spends a fair amount of time doing charity work and his friends have a charity in Uganda and goes out there a lot.
He has a very good relationship with his brothers and they are a small and close family unit. He has had some considerable time to reflect on what he has done and does show real and genuine remorse.’
Etuhu and his accomplices will be sentenced later. Kelvin Etuhu currently plays for League Two club Carlisle. Oldest brother Dickson, 37, a Nigerian international played for various UK clubs including Norwich City, Fulham and Sunderland.
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