Jealous student recruited friends to kidnap woman and drive her to secluded woodland before attacking her

Nadia Gubran outside Liverpool Crown Court
Nadia Gubran outside Liverpool Crown Court -Credit:Liverpool Echo

A jealous student and her friends kidnapped an innocent woman before driving her to a secluded area and attacking her.

Best friends Nadia Gubran and Alya Dahshan, both aged 21, plotted to abduct the victim, who Gubran suspected was exchanging Snapchat messages with a man she was interested in. They recruited another woman, Layla Obad, 20, to help carry out the terrifying ambush.

The gang tracked the 23-year-old victim to her workplace on the evening of March 21 of last year, before following her in Gubran's Volkswagen Golf as she made her way down Hartington Road, Liverpool. They grabbed her from behind and pulled her hood over her face before dragging her into the car and pinning her to the back seat. Her phone was seized and she was interrogated by Gubran, who forced her to hand over her PIN, the Liverpool ECHO reports.

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Opening the case at Liverpool Crown Court on April 18, prosecutor Michael Scholes said: "Gubran in particular was aggressive, calling her a sket and a slag, and she warned her she shouldn't associate with Arabs, as well as interrogating her about the nature of her relationship with a man called Sol, who she was in contact with.

"Gubran was described as really aggressive and intimidating towards the victim, making threats that she knew where she lived and that there were people in the area that would be watching her."

They drove to a secluded, wooded area near Sefton Park Palm House, where the victim was pushed into the bushes and punched and kicked in the head by Gubran and Dahshan. The two women then fled the scene, leaving behind Obad, who apologised to the victim before also running away.

All three women wept in the dock as mobile phone video footage of the attack, taken by Dahshan, was played to the court. In it, the victim could be seen on the ground in a wooded area, holding up her hands as she was repeatedly punched and kicked.

Alya Dahshan outside Liverpool Crown Court
Alya Dahshan outside Liverpool Crown Court -Credit:Liverpool Echo

One of the attackers could be heard shouting at her: "Yeah, yeah, yeah, f*** off. Chatting s***. Next time don't f***ing mess with Arabs, alright. D***head. Look at the camera and say it, you won't mess with Arabs."

Two further videos, taken at an earlier stage, were also played, showing the victim face-down on the back seat of the car, and being punched by Gubran.

Following the horrific ordeal, the victim sought help from a random passer-by, who called a taxi to take her home. She called the police, and when officers attended her house she used her tablet to try and deactivate her missing mobile phone. It was then she noticed she had an Instagram message from a man saying he had found her phone in Sefton Park.

The man, James Galvin, was traced, and he told police he had been approached by Obad, who told him she "had done a horrible thing" and begged him for help returning the victim's phone. Mr Scholes said: "It's clear he had no knowledge of what had happened. As a result, police were able to trace Layla Obad, and afterwards find the other participants, who were also arrested."

Gubran, a real estate student, initially maintained her innocence, claiming she was at university at the time of the attack. However, messages retrieved from her phone, sent on March 20 and 21, revealed she and Dahshan had planned the abduction, as they discussed how they could force the victim into their car. One message read: "Gloves. Bally (balaclava). Go look for a perfect location. We hunt her down, grab her from behind, and we need someone to hold her in the back."

All three women eventually pleaded guilty to false imprisonment, and appeared in court on Friday (April 26) for sentence.

Layla Obad was spared jail over her involvement in the abduction plot
Layla Obad was spared jail over her involvement in the abduction plot -Credit:Liverpool Echo

Jo Maxwell, defending Gubran, said: "She genuinely regrets her actions and that occasion and it's something she would never wish to involve herself in again. it was a very stupid but very serious reaction to the jealousy that she felt.

"She was aged 20 at the time and she's still finding her way in the world. She has a tight and loving family who are horrified at her actions, as she is herself. She seeks to improve her qualifications; she's already undertaken several of them. She's someone who has assisted the community a great deal and is seeking to look after her family in the future by aspiring to secure well-paid employment. She has one year to go in university. The effect of an immediate custodial sentence will mean that she's unable to complete that course and the two years she has undertaken so far will need to be re-sat."

She described Gubran as "immature" with "an inability to appropriately solve problems", but Judge David Aubrey KC said: "She is an intelligent woman. She is in her second year at university. She knows, most certainly, the difference between right and wrong. She planned what she was doing. I find it difficult to accept that she is an immature woman."

Eve Salter, defending Dahshan, said: "The defendant was 19 at the time. While it's not submitted to excuse her behaviour, it's submitted she was immature and naïve at the time. She found herself caught up with her friends and committed acts she wholly regrets."

She said Dahshan, an early childhood studies student, was of previous good character, and called on the judge to suspend her sentence, as time in prison would "disrupt the entirety of her life including the potential loss of her university position."

Carmel Wilde, defending Obad, said the 20-year-old nursing student had expressed genuine remorse for her actions, apologising to the victim and making full admissions to police. She called attention to the video footage, in which Obad could be heard shouting "girls, stop" in Arabic as Gubran and Dahshan punched and kicked the victim.

She said: "She's quite petrified that she could lose her liberty, her career, and her family. Character references show a caring side to Obad; she is described as hardworking, motivated, friendly and loveable."

Sentencing, Judge Aubrey said: "I'm satisfied that this was a pre-planned, premeditated attack by you, Gubran, and you, Dahshan, upon an innocent woman who was literally bundled off the street into a car against her will and thereafter assaulted.

"You found someone else to assist, Layla Obad. Your victim didn't know any of you, which could only have exacerbated her anxiety and humiliation."

He said Gubran was "the prime mover, the instigator, and the main protagonist" of the kidnapping, while Dahshan was highly involved. He accepted that Obad was not involved in the planning and had not taken part in the assault on the victim in the woods, and had expressed "sincere remorse and considerable victim empathy".

He said: "In the case of Gubran and Dashan, I have come to the conclusion that no sentence other than immediate custody is appropriate. In the case of Obad, bearing in mind your role and culpability, the balance falls in favour of suspending the sentence."

  • Nadia Gubran, of Bonchurch Drive, Wavertree, was sentenced to 20 months in prison

  • Alya Dahshan, of Spindle Close, Everton, was sentenced to 16 months in prison

  • Layla Obad, of Railbrook Hey, Old Swan, was sentenced to 14 months in a young offenders institution, suspended for 18 months. She was also ordered to complete 140 hours of unpaid work.