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Last Updated: Friday, 28 March 2008, 17:30 GMT

Five guilty of 10m kidnap plot

(Clockwise): Khan Coombs, Patrick Holland, Gerrard Booth, Simon Young and John McDonnell
The gang were going to take Nasir Zahid to the "slaughterhouse"

Four men and a woman have been convicted of a 10m plot to kidnap a businessman by seducing him.

The gang aimed to lure Nasir Zahid from his office in Chiswick, west London, by persuading him to ask secretary Khan Coombs on a date, then snatching him.

But she was unable to get a job at his firm, Blackfriars Crown Court heard.

Coombs, Patrick Holland, Simon Young, Gerrard Booth and John McDonnell were convicted of conspiracy to kidnap. They will be sentenced in May.

Young, aged 39, from Welling, Kent, was also found guilty of having a firearm. He was cleared of possessing the weapon with intent to kidnap.

'Grab him'

Christopher Kerr, prosecuting, told the court that while Holland was in charge of the "plan in the UK", McDonnell and Booth, convicted drug traffickers who met in prison, were to "carry out the snatch physically". Young was effectively a go-between, he said.

The court heard Coombs, 24, of no fixed address, tried to secure a job as a secretary at Mr Zahid's firm Tradex Ltd.

If this comes off there's 10m involved in this job. When you bring him out we can take him to the slaughterhouse
John McDonnell

Police recorded McDonnell, 45, from Lewisham, south-east London, telling Coombs that he would forge an impressive CV for her.

"We're going to send you into the office and you're going to try and flirt with (Mr Zahid) to see if he'll ask you out - which he will," McDonnell told her.

"If he comes out we're going to grab him," he added. "If this comes off there's 10m involved in this job. When you bring him out we can take him to the slaughterhouse."

'Staked out'

But the plan, devised between March and May 2007, collapsed immediately when Coombs was told there were no vacancies at Mr Zahid's firm.

Before they could come up with an alternative plan, Coombs, McDonnell, Young, Booth, 47, from Rostrevor, Co Down, and Holland, 69, from Lewisham, were arrested by armed police.

Christopher Kerr, prosecuting, said as the plan unfolded gang members "staked out" both Mr Zahid's office and his home in Isleworth, west London.

Young earlier admitted possessing ammunition without a certificate.

Holland's lawyer, Giovanni di Stefano, said his client would be appealing against the conviction.

All five will be sentenced on 2 May.


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