A businessman's wife was jailed yesterday after staging her own kidnap in a plot to extort £300,000 from him and spend it with her secret lover.
Hina Uroog, 26, disappeared after taking her children to school and that evening her husband, Sajad Ali, received a phone call from her "abductor".
Plotters: Liaqat Khan (right), Hina Uroog and Kashif Ahmed were all jailed after they took part in the staged kidnap of Uroog
He could hear his wife apparently pleading for her life in the background, and 34-year-old Mr Ali agreed to pay a ransom.
But in reality Uroog was with her lover, Kashif Ahmed, and she was never in any danger.
The plot was exposed after Mr Ali contacted police, who swooped on Ahmed as he arrived to hand over the hostage and pick up the money, armed with a pistol and a sawn-off shotgun.
Officers became suspicious when Uroog started dismantling her mobile phone and trying to eat the SIM card.
They later found a video on another phone of the pair having sex.
Uroog, her lover and their accomplice were jailed for a total of more than 20 years at Manchester Crown Court.
But despite his wife's admission of what a judge called her "dreadful betrayal", Mr Ali, from Rochdale, insisted he had forgiven her and was standing by her.
The court heard that Mr Ali had an arranged marriage to Uroog, who had two children from a previous relationship, but was unaware of her relationship with 23-year-old Ahmed.
In May, Uroog dropped off the children at school and gave staff her husband's contact details in case they could not reach her, before driving off to Yorkshire with her lover.
When she failed to pick up the children, they duly rang Mr Ali, who went to collect them and reported his wife missing. "That night he received a call from a man telling him she had been kidnapped," said Mark Ainsworth, prosecuting.
"During the call she could be heard screaming and shouting, 'Please help me, babe!'." The caller warned Mr Ali his wife would be killed if he called the police and said he wanted £300,000 for her safe return. Distraught, Mr Ali agreed, but later called police.
It was finally agreed that she would be freed for £50,000 and a meeting was set up in Manchester three days later, but officers were waiting as Uroog was "released" and swooped to arrest her supposed abductor.
Uroog, who admitted blackmail, was jailed for four years and nine months, while Ahmed, from Fallowfield, Manchester, was jailed for nine years after admitting blackmail and possession of a firearm.
Liaqat Khan, from Bradford, also admitted possessing firearms and was jailed for six-and-a-half years.
Judge Clement Goldstone, QC, told Uroog: "Sajad Ali has unreservedly forgiven you for the quite dreadful way in which you betrayed him.
"He believes you were led into the agreement against your will by sophisticated criminals. But you went into this with your eyes wide open and with the intention of causing him as much financial loss as he could withstand."