"This was a deeply unpleasant offence, it was cruel exploitation of your father’s love for you," judge tells the 21-year-old
In a plot that might have come straight from a Bollywood film, the spoilt son of an Indian-origin Kenyan businessman, studying in Britain, staged his own kidnapping to extort more than £600,000 in gold bullion from his father to fund his lavish lifestyle.
Viraj Mashru (21), who has been jailed for three years, hatched the plot with the help of a friend Amit Patel (26) after his father Rajendra Mashru, fed up with his son’s extravagant habits, stopped his £500-a week allowance.
The court was told that Mashru got Patel to call his father in Mombasa and tell him that he was kidnapped and to demand a ransom in exchange for his release. All the while Mashru was holed in a London hotel.
Patel and another accomplice Marcus Bennet (31) made a series of calls to his father in October last year instructing him to deposit £6,14,000 in gold bullion in an account at London’s famous store, Harrods. During one of the calls, Patel reportedly threatened to “rape” Mashru and cut off his fingers if the ransom was not paid.
However, the police caught up with them and they were arrested on November 1 when the car they were travelling in was intercepted.
Prosecutor Caroline Haughey told the court that Mashru’s “entire existence in the U.K. was funded by his family in Kenya.”
“However recently the relationship cooled between Mr. Mashru and his father to the extent his father, Rajendra, stopped providing him with money. Mr. Mashru subsequently came up with a plan to deceive his father into paying a significant amount of money. In October 2012 Mr. Mashru created a scenario whereby there was created an impression that he had disappeared.”
Sentencing Mashru at Southwark Crown Court, judge Alastair McCreath told him that what he did was “a cruel exploitation of your father’s love for you.”
“You were a student in this country being supported generously by your father to the tune £2000 a month. Almost every single student in this country would give their eye teeth to be supported as kindly as that…This was a deeply unpleasant offence, it was cruel exploitation of your father’s love for you.”