Man locked in cupboard after Grindr drug deal goes wrong

Truman Christ and Richard Crawford outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court.
Truman Christ and Richard Crawford outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

TWO thugs who abducted a man and locked him in a cupboard for ten hours after a Grindr drug deal went wrong are facing a jail sentence.

Truman Christ and Richard Crawford lured Mohammed Choudhry to a rented flat in Edinburgh with the intention of buying the party drug GBL from him following chats on the gay dating site.

But when Mr Choudhry arrived at the house Crawford claimed he recognised the dealer as knowing one of the men who had attacked him and stolen cash from him the previous year.

Mr Choudry denied the claims but after finding himself trapped inside the flat he was forced to hand over his bank cards and PIN number to the thugs.

Christ and Crawford then bound Mr Choudhry’s ankles and wrists with cable and stuffed him in a cupboard while they waited on the cash coming through.

The imprisoned man spent around ten hours tied up inside the bedroom cupboard but eventually managed to free himself before fleeing the flat in the Newhaven area of the Capital.

Christ and Crawford, both from Nottingham, admitted a reduced charge of abducting Mr Choudhry and demanding money from him when they appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday.

Allegations of using a firearm, torturing and whipping the man during the incident were dropped by the Crown prior to the plea being entered.

Fiscal depute Aidan Higgins told the court Christ and Crawford, 49, arrived in Edinburgh for a short holiday in January last year and rented a luxury apartment at the city’s Western Harbour Terrace.

The fiscal said on the first evening Christ was scouring the gay dating site Grindr and began conversing with Mr Choudhry who agreed to come round and supply the men with 150ml of the recreational party drug GBL, costing £100.

But when Mr Choudhry turned up at the men’s flat at around 2am on January 30 last year former soldier Crawford claimed to recognise him as connected to the gang who had previously assaulted him.

The accused said the male was connected to the gay 
community in Edinburgh and the complainer said he knew the man but did not work for him.

Mr Higgins said: “The accused was told he was being kept in a cupboard until the following morning. They bound his ankles and wrists using duct tape.

“The complainer was held in the cupboard for around ten hours, falling asleep intermittently. In the morning he could hear snoring in the other room and managed to get the tape free from his wrists.”

After breaking free from the cupboard Choudhry fled the flat in a distressed state and was helped by two passing tradesmen who helped him call the police. When officers turned up at the holiday flat at around 11.30am both Christ and Crawford said they believed their victim was still inside the cupboard.

Yesterday, Crawford’s defence team said their client was due to undergo a major operation next month and that he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder following tours of Afghanistan and Iraq with the British Army.

Sheriff Thomas Welsh QC was told full mitigation for both men will be heard at the next court hearing and deferred sentence for reports to October.