David Howker QC prosecutes hitman case

Wed, 30 Nov 2011

FIVE men will be sentenced next month after being convicted of conspiring to murder a restaurant owner shot outside his home in broad daylight.
 
The men had been hired to carry out the shooting of Mohammed Afsar in Chaplin Road, Normacot.
 
The drama was captured on a CCTV camera installed by 63-year-old Mr Afsar outside his home following death threats to his family.
 
During a five-week trial, Stafford Crown Court heard the motive for the attack was uncertain.
 
But in evidence, Mr Afsar, owner of the Saghir Express restaurant in Longton, said he believed the shooting was in revenge after a number of men were imprisoned following an attack on one of his sons.
 
Mr Afsar, who feared he was going to die, needed six operations at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire to treat his leg injuries.
 
Yesterday Omran Rashid, aged 34, Wassab Khan, aged 32, Abdul Jabbar, aged 19, Faisal Saraj, aged 20, and Abdul Maroof, aged 29, were remanded in custody to be sentenced on December 21 at Manchester Crown Court. They all lived in Birmingham.
 
Imran Khan, aged 26, and Asim Iqbal, aged 26, also from Birmingham, were charged with perverting the course of justice, but were acquitted.
 
Today, Mr Afsar said: "All credit must go to Staffordshire Police, the officers from Longton and those from Stafford, who carried out the investigation.
 
"This sends out a message that you can't get away with this sort of thing in Staffordshire.
 
"The staff at the hospital have helped give me my life back with their care and treatment.
 
"And I'd like to thank the local community for their support and understanding."
 
The court heard how Mr Afsar was getting into his Mitsubishi Shogun outside his home on the morning of June 4, 2010 when a silver/grey Vauxhall Vectra pulled up in the roadway and two men, with their faces covered, got out.
 
One of the men then fired a gun into the vehicle at Mr Afsar, who sustained a serious injury to his right leg. CCTV footage showed Mr Afsar crawling out his car moments after he'd been shot.
 
After the verdict, Det Ch Insp Tim Martin, senior investigating officer, said: "This was an unusual case in that the defendants did not personally know Mr Afsar, they were purposely tasked to carry out this premeditated crime.
 
"Although Mr Afsar was subject to a life-threatening experience he has made a good recovery."
 
Chief Inspector Peter Hall, commander for Stoke-on-Trent South Local Policing Team, added: "The use of firearms will not be tolerated and all reports of incidents involving firearms are treated extremely seriously."
 
 

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