Chiheb Battikh, 52, was sentenced to six years in prison today after pleading guilty to attempting to kidnap the grandson of a Quebec billionaire for ransom.
Battikh was having financial trouble and intended to demand a ransom of $500,000 from the wealthy family of the three-year-old victim.
Battikh tried to kidnap the boy on the afternoon of Dec. 19, 2012, when his father went to pick him up from daycare.
The two crossed through F.X. Garneau Park in Outremont to get home — the father pulling his son on a sled.
That’s when the father, who cannot be named to protect the child’s identity, noticed they were being followed.
Battikh punched and kicked the man in the head and face, and used a stun gun to try to neutralize the boy’s father — but missed, only getting his ear and neck.
Nonetheless, the father lay on the ground, pretending to be injured.
Battikh snatched the three-year-old boy and ran.
The father chased after them and managed to tackle Battikh.
Neighbours heard screaming and called police, while one witness rushed to the father’s aid and helped him neutralize Battikh.
When police arrived on the scene they immediately arrested Battikh, who had a stun gun, pepper spray and car keys on him.
Officers found Battikh’s car parked on Elmwood Street, just near the park. It had a fake licence plate, and inside the trunk were an X-Acto knife, electrical tape, plastic ties, and a briefcase containing two cans of pepper spray.
Battikh first told police the boy’s father attacked him, but he eventually confessed to trying to kidnap the toddler.
Battikh, a computer engineer, told police during his interrogation that he no longer had the means to support his wife and five children.
He said he accumulated $25,000 of debt on his credit cards, and invested $250,000 of his family members’ money but had disappointing results.
He told police that’s why he came up with a plan to solve his money problems.
Battikh said he did research on the Internet to find affluent Quebec families and came across the name of a billionaire.
He discovered the billionaire had a daughter with a husband and a young son, found out where they lived and began planning the crime.
He said he spied on the family for weeks, noting their whereabouts and their daily routines.
Sentenced to 6 years
Justice Louise Villemure called Battikh’s crime extremely serious, before sentencing him to six years — minus one year and three months already served — behind bars.
She also commended the boy’s father for his courage and instinct to fight off his attacker while protecting his son from harm.