Three Teens Jailed After Luring Men on Grindr to Rob Them in Homophobic Assaults

Three teenagers have been jailed after luring men on gay dating app Grindr and then subjecting them to horrific homophobic assaults.

Muhammad Umar, Mohammed Sohail Khan and Qaasim Ahmad used fake profiles on the app to convince four men to meet them in Birmingham, U.K. between January and March this year, West Midlands Police said.

The trio, who are all 18, assaulted and restrained their victims and robbed them while shouting anti-gay slurs, police said.

One victim said he was forced to "lay face down in the dirt with my hands and legs bound not knowing if I would ever see my family again" while another said he feared for his life after one of the men threatened to ram a screwdriver in his eye.

Khan and Umar previously pleaded guilty to both conspiracy to burgle and conspiracy to rob as well as false imprisonment. Ahmad was found guilty of all three offenses after a trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

Jurors heard from the victims in statements that were read in court. One victim said he is left traumatized after "the shock of being knocked to the ground, then the terror of being bound and threatened with being stabbed." He added: "As the punches hit my head and face I was expecting to be stabbed at any moment."

Another victim said: "Every time something reminds me of the attack, it takes me to a bad place and it affects my sleep. I have ongoing bad dreams particular about the moment of despair I felt at one point during the attack where I thought I would die in a horrible way."

teens jailed
Qaasim Ahmad, Muhammad Umar and Mohammed Sohail Khan (L-R) have been jailed for a string of robberies that targeted gay men they lured via Grindr. West Midlands Police

The trio were handed a combined total of more than 37 years in prison on Wednesday. Ahmad and Khan were both sentenced to 13 years and four months in prison. Umar was sentenced to 11 years and three months.

They will all be subject to an extended license period due to the severity of their crimes, police said, which were treated as homophobic hate crimes.

Police said striking similarities between the four assaults—the first on January 5 and the others on March 18, 24 and 29—led them to believe the same people were responsible for them. One of the victims said he had been spat on and forensic scientists later matched the DNA found on the victim's trousers to Umar.

A "wealth of evidence" tied the attacks to Umar, Khan and Ahmad after police seized phones and other items from their homes. A Canada Goose coat belonging to Ahmad was found to have blood from one of the victims, police said. CCTV from stores and ATMs also showed the trip using bank cards stolen from their victims.

Following the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Ian Ingram said the the defendants "deliberately" targeted gay men via the dating app because they believed them to be "vulnerable, easy targets."

"My team gathered compelling evidence against the trio - who in police interview showed no remorse for what they had done, and seemingly had no grasp of the trauma they had subjected their victim to," he said,

He also commended the four victims for their bravery and courage in coming forward. "Their evidence enabled us to launch a full scale investigation and a build a strong case, which ultimately brought the offenders to justice, and has undoubtedly prevented many other people from becoming a victim," he said.

"Naturally I would encourage anyone who has been subject to a similar ordeal to come forward and report it to police. All reports will be dealt with sensitively and victims will be supported by specially trained officers," Ingram said.

Tony Neate, the CEO of Get Safe Online, advised people to take precautions when meeting up in person with someone first encountered online. "Sadly, not everyone is who they say they are online so be careful when arranging to meet," he said.

"Never meet them at your home or even give them your address. Likewise, don't go to theirs either. Meet in a public place where there are lots of other people around so you are safe."

He added: "Take your mobile so you are contactable and let a friend or family member know you are meeting someone new and agree to send them a text so you can let them know you are safe."