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Appeal to trace man over 'dangerous black magic' fraud

News   •   Jun 04, 2018 12:55 BST

Muhammed Ashraf

Detectives have released an image of a man wanted for questioning in connection with fraud which left the victim over £400,000 out of pocket.

Muhammed Ashraf, 37 (15.02.81) of no fixed abode is wanted for questioning by officers from Hounslow for his part in defrauding a 57-year-old woman out of over £400,000 over a two-year period between April 2013 and November 2015.

The victim reported to officers on 25 November 2015 that in March 2013 she received a leaflet through her letterbox claiming to provide services to people suffering from 'dangerous black magic'.

In June 2013 the victim contacted the mobile number on the leaflet and spoke to a man to enquire about using his service.

She agreed to meet an unknown man (Suspect 1) at a property on Delamere Road, Southall, where she paid him £350 in return for his help. She was led to believe this was a one off payment and was not told that the fees would increase in the future.

A week later, Suspect 1 contacted the victim and told her that her problems were too complicated and he required more money to help her. He stated he needed an extra £90,000. The victim questioned this, but agreed to pay £60,000 cash instead.

From then until November 2015, Suspect 1 and the victim met approximately once every two weeks, and on each occasion he demanded more money. Sometimes when Suspect 1 was not able to meet, Ashraf would attend instead and collect the money.

Later in the month, Ashraf told the victim that Suspect 1 had passed away. He then made her delete any contact number or messages from him from her phone. The suspect questioned Ashraf about what was going on and he told her that he needed to go back to India to do further work.

The victim found this suspicious and reported it to police.

Three weeks after reporting the matter to police, the victim saw Ashraf driving a blue Hyundai with the registration number AD14 NAZ in Southall. This was the last known sighting of Ashraf.

DC Ben Lawrence-Smith, from Hounslow CID, said: "Although this offence happened a number of years ago, we still appeal to the public for their help in locating Ashraf.

"Ashraf is an Asian male who at the time of his involvement in defrauding the victim had a beard and moustache. He is known to sometimes use the surname Ali, and may be residing in the Midlands."

Anyone with any information can contact police at Hounslow CID on 020 8247 6160 or tweet @MetCC.

To give information anonymously contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or online at