A robbery gang that terrorised two Bradford University students had sullied the city’s proud reputation for welcoming people of all nationalities, a judge said yesterday.
Judge Jonathan Rose locked up two of the raiders, Waqar Ali and Amaar Arif, for a total of almost ten years for attempting to trick their way into the home of two Botswanan students and then using violence to help themselves to their property.
Ali, 19, of Ascot Parade, Horton Bank Top, Bradford, and Arif, 24, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to robbing Letang Matutu and John Mlazie at their student accommodation in Grantham Place, Great Horton, Bradford, on February 11.
Arif was jailed for four years and ten months and Ali, in breach of a suspended sentence for burglary and dangerous driving, was sent to a young offender institution for a total of five years and four months.
Prosecutor Clare Benson said the pair were part of a three-strong gang that approached Mr Matutu in the street after dark and tried to trick their way into his home.
When his housemate, Mr Mlazie, arrived, the door was forced open and the students were pushed inside. Mr Matutu was thrown to the floor in the hallway and punched. He was threatened with further violence if he resisted.
Mr Mlazie fled upstairs and locked himself in the bathroom while the robbers helped themselves to two laptop computers and an iPhone.
The court heard both students had moved home as they were so afraid after the robbery. Mr Mlazie now feared to venture out alone and Mr Matutu felt unsafe in the city.
“His time in the UK has been scarred and he is looking forward to going home to Botswana,” Miss Benson said.
Richard Gioserano, Ali’s barrister, said he was 18 at the time and the only force he used was a push and a punch.
Adam Walker, for Arif, said he was not by nature a violent man.
Judge Rose told the men: “You have sullied the name of this city, creating fear among students with your violence and thuggery.”
Of the crime, he added: “It will have been a terrifying experience. It caused injury and created fear and distress.