WALTHAMSTOW: First picture of gay chatline robber

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Adil Zahid Adil Zahid

THE first picture of a drug addict who robbed gay men he courted on via internet chatlines has been issued by police.

Adil Zahid, 27, of Walthamstow, confessed to targeting gay men, many of whom were still in the closet, because he believed they would make easy victims enabling him to feed his habit.

He pleaded guilty to four counts of robbery and one count of handling a stolen vehicle and was this week jailed for six years.

The offences took place between June and August 2009 at three locations in Tottenham and another in Woodford Green.

On one occasion, Zahid armed with a knife, ordered his victim to take him to his home and was able to take a laptop, stereo and valuables. He threatened to stab one of his victims if he did not comply.

Zahid, who has a ten-year history of knife point robberies, was handed a six-year indeterminate sentence, of which he must serve three years.

He will only be released when he is no longer considered a risk to the public.

Judge Peter Ade, sentencing, said: "You met these men intending them to believe that they were going to form some form of a connection with you.

"Having gained their confidence and meeting them you proceeded to rob them.

"It was a detailed ploy on your part to attract potential victims who you would have money, having believed they were going on an evening of entertainment, and who might be embarrased to come forward beacuse of the nature of the crime.

"It was minimum risk for maximum result."

In 2002, Zahid was sentenced to six years imprisonment at the Old Bailey for kidnapping victims in his car with the help of an accomplice and forcing them to withdraw money from cashpoints in Muswell Hill, Crouch and Highgate using a knife to keep them under control.

Judge Ader said: "You are a high risk to those you choose as your victims particularly homosexual men".

He added: "You may not have caused physical harm. But you did cause fear and trauma which we heard from the victim's statements."

Zahid, officially of no fixed abode, thanked the judge for sparing him a life sentence as he was taken to the cells.

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