Saturday, April 04, 2015

Laughing brothers threw chilli powder in women's faces before stealing their mobile phones

  • Kashif and Khalid Ashraf targeted their victims in Birmingham city centre
  • One would grab victim's phone while other threw chilli powder in their face
  • They even laughed as one victim was left temporarily blinded after attack 
  • Pair were caught after targeting a woman outside Bullring shopping centre 
  • Both were jailed for a total of 13 years after trial at Birmingham Crown Court 
Two brothers who laughed as they threw chilli powder in women's faces before stealing their mobile phones have been jailed.

Kashif Ashraf, 34, and Khalid Ahraf, 28, targeted lone victims walking through Birmingham city centre between June 21 and July 6 last year.

Birmingham Crown Court heard how one of the pair would grab the phone while the other rubbed chilli powder in the victim's eyes leaving them in agony.

Kashif Ashraf
Khalid Ashraf
Kashif Ashraf, left, and Khalid Ashraf, right, who have been jailed after throwing chilli powder in women's faces before stealing their mobile phones 

On one occasion they even laughed at the pain they had inflicted on one victim after she was left temporarily blinded.

Now the pair of Smethwick in the West Midlands have been jailed for a total of 13 years after Kashif was sentenced to six years and Khalid to seven years after they were both found guilty of robbery following a trial.

The court heard how the first robbery took place on June 21 in an underpass at around 6.45pm as a 23-year-old woman was walking home.

Her phone was grabbed from her and as she screamed for help, they knocked her glasses off and rubbed chilli powder into her eyes.

Nine days later at 12.40pm, the pair robbed an 18-year-old woman who was on her phone outside Birmingham's Marriott Hotel.

Again, one of the brothers grabbed the phone while the other rubbed chilli powder in her face.

The third robbery was later the same day at 5.30pm, when they targeted a 30-year-old woman sat on seating near to Morrison's Supermarket on Hagley Road.

When the woman refused to let go of her phone, they scratched her hand to release her grip.
The brazen pair were eventually caught minutes after their last robbery on July 6 at 8.45pm by the Bullring Shopping Centre.

They snatched a phone from a 39-year-old woman and as they ran off one of the brothers turned round and laughed at her.

A passing member of the public, who had seen the robbery, chased the pair and also managed to flag down a passing police car who were then able to arrest them and recover the phone.

At the time of the four robberies, Kashif Ashraf was already on bail in connection with an attempted robbery on a lone woman.

He was found guilty of that offence in September last year.

During a preliminary hearing, Kashif pleaded guilty to the July 6 robbery but maintained his innocence to the other three throughout the trial.

After the case, Detective Constable Jamie Simon, from West Midlands Police, said: 'On each occasion, the brothers targeted women who were on their own.

'They saw them using their phones and then lay in wait to attack them at an opportune moment.
'Three of the women were physically hurt during their ordeal particularly when the substance believed to be chilli powder was used.

'We believe this was a deliberate attempt by the brothers to try and mask their identity.
'Both cynically elected a trial, even though they both knew the weight of the evidence was against them.

'Neither showed any remorse throughout the trial or gave any thought to their victims who were all clearly left upset and traumatised.

'In summing up the trial, the judge described it as a short campaign of terror, targeted against vulnerable females, which was clearly planned and aggravated by the fact that chilli pepper was used as a weapon during two of the robberies.'

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