Brutal deaths have racial element

December 23, 2008 — News

Written by Harmit Athwal

In three recent murder cases there are elements to suggest that the ethnicity of the victim was a factor in the violence used. These cases may therefore fall within the IRR’s definition of a racist murder.[1]

Three Asian men jailed for revenge attack

In the case of the killing of Meshack Brown, the judge clearly felt that the offence was racially aggravated. On 11 December, three Asian men were jailed for life after being found guilty of the murder of 20-year-old Meshack Brown, who was shot dead on 13 November 2006. His death appeared to be a retaliation after two Asian men were stabbed, allegedly by a group of Black men, earlier in the day in the Lozells area of Birmingham. Meshack, who had had absolutely nothing to do with the earlier incident, but just happened to be Black, was gunned down outside his twentieth birthday party in the Newtown area.

Judge Justice Burton told one assailant: ‘You were involved in an offence which I am quite satisfied was racially aggravated … You were to find a black man who could carry the can for other black men who had caused injury to your friends and relatives.’ All the men were jailed for life with the judge recommending that Asif Nadeem, 27, serve a minimum of 26-years and Mahtab Azam, 21, and Mohammed Asif, 21, serve a minimum of 23-years. The police are still searching for the man thought to have pulled the trigger, who was named as 27-year-old Kadeer Hussain and is thought to be in Pakistan.

Conviction for murder of Afghan refugee

In November 2008, 22-year-old Martin Joyce, who had been heard threatening that he would ‘kill that foreigner one day’, was convicted by a jury of the murder of Afghan refugee Enayit Khalili in Oxford and given a life sentence with a recommendation that he serve at least fifteen years.

In March 2007, Joyce was staying in Oxford at the home of his fiancée’s parents in a house opposite Enayit Khalili, who worked as a cleaner at Cowley police station. The court was told that before the murder Joyce was seen arguing with a man on the doorstep of the house, where Enayit lived. His fiancée’s sister told the court that he was then heard to say ‘I’m going to kill that foreigner one day’. A few weeks after the murder, he also boasted to his brother-in-law that he had stabbed someone at the house across the road. He also told the woman, who later became his wife, ‘I got away with it and I will kill again’.

Enayit was killed by a single stab wound to his stomach, which was delivered with such force that the blade exited his back. The knife went through his pancreas and stomach and two major veins, injured, he staggered back into his home where a flatmate struggled to help his bleeding friend. Enayit ‘s house-mates told the court that Enayit told them days before he died about arguing with the neighbours after something was thrown into their house.

Joyce did not give evidence in his own defence at the trial but the jury was told how he had tried to stab an Irish police officer with a screwdriver in December 2008 and was also told by Joyce’s’ nephew that he had threatened to kill his own mother, Kathleen, at her home in Ireland. Joyce was also described by his sister-in-law as a ‘real psychopath’.

‘Vicious, dangerous young thugs’ get life

Both the police and the judge felt that the attack on Asaf Mohmood Ahmed in 2007 had a distinct racial element. In November 2008, Jason Bolton, 18, and Andrew Smith, 16, were given life sentences for their part in the murder of 28-year-old Asaf Mahmood Ahmed outside Derby Ward Labour Club in Deane, Bolton on 21 December 2007. The judge ruled that Smith should serve a minimum of thirteen and Bolton a minimum of seventeen years.

After carrying out a drunken assault on Mark Hampson in a nearby street the pair leapt on father of three, Asaf Mahmood Ahmed, who had just stepped out of his home to buy a drink. Asaf died from an asthma attack following the brutal assault which saw the two young men kick and punch him to the ground before jumping and stamping on his head. Bolton even returned to continue the assault and kicked Asaf’s inhaler out of his hand. Asaf’s face was left so bloodied that a woman who came to his assistance after seeing the attack could not tell the colour of his skin until she picked up his hand to check for a pulse. Bolton, who was drunk, stayed at the scene and Smith went home and filmed himself on his phone. The footage showed Smith, then 15, saying ‘eyes of a killer’.

The CPS did not prosecute the murder as racially motivated and told the court that ‘the probable motive was to inflict random violence whether to a white man, such as Mr Hampson, or to an Asian man, such as Mr Ahmed … But it is clear that Jason Bolton has a very nasty attitude to Asian people which no doubt added fuel to his attack on Mr Ahmed.’

After the verdict, Detective Superintendent Andy Tattersall commented: ‘This was a really tragic incident in which an innocent man lost his life during an unprovoked assault. He was attacked for no reason as he walked to a shop. That assault, which had racial overtones, sparked a fatal asthma attack.’

After sentence, the judge told the attackers: ‘Not only have you caused unimaginable grief to the Ahmed family but you are both vicious, dangerous young thugs. It is little comfort that you may not have intended to kill. You both intended to cause grievous injury and to get pleasure from doing so. You were clearly in the mood, both of you, to assault anyone who appeared to be fair game. It was fun beating Mr Ahmed up. To cause him pain and suffering gave you pleasure. You beat him until he could take no more. Your actions were callous, unprovoked and lacking in humanity,’ adding ‘I have no doubt the pleasure you derived at the time of the assault was all the greater because the victim happened to be Asian.’

Related links

Read the IRR’s Factfile on the Racially Motivated Murders (Known or Suspected) 2000 onwards

Read the IRR’s Factfile on the Racially Motivated Murders (Known or Suspected) 1991-1999

The IRR considers that the identification of racially motivated murders and attacks must depend on an objective evaluation of the whole context in which the murder or attack takes place and not just on the skin colour or ethnicity of the alleged perpetrator(s) or victim. In particular, the IRR would regard a murder or attack as racially motivated if the evidence indicates that someone of a different ethnicity, in the same place and similar circumstances, would not have been attacked in the same way. Subject to the above, a formal legal finding or allegation of racial motivation would be taken as prima facie (but not definitive) evidence that a murder or attack was racially motivated. Last updated on 5 January 2012. Additional information on these cases is available on request.

The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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