Posted on October 14, 2005

Asian Gang in ‘Campus Killing’

Life Style Extra (UK), Oct. 10

An Asian gang kicked and stamped a computer worker to death on a university campus before declaring “we killed a white man”, a court heard today.

Christopher Yates, 30, had been out celebrating a friend’s birthday when he was set on by the three men who knocked him to the ground before kicking and stamping on him as if they were “playing football”, the Old Bailey was told.

Mr Yates, a data inputter, had just seen a female friend onto a bus to make sure she got home safely after going out for her birthday, the jury heard.

But he was then set upon in the car park of Barking’s University of East London by Zahid Bashir, 23, Imran Maqsood, 21 and Sajid Zulfiqar, 25, the court was told.

The trio kicked him repeatedly and stamped on his head, leaving him fatally injured in the street before fleeing the scene, it was alleged.

But they continued the violence on the early hours of November 7 last year, smashing cars as they ran off, threatening a householder and then assaulting a curry waiter and a passer-by in nearby Ilford, the jury heard.

The three then fled London but were arrested five days later 200 miles away in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, said Anthony Leonard QC, prosecuting.

He told the court how Mr Yates had spent the evening out with friends to celebrate a female acquaintance’s birthday. After the night out he had accompanied her to a bus stop to see her safely home.

She caught her bus in the early hours of the morning but as Mr Yates was walking near the car park of the university in Barking’s Longbridge Road he was set upon, the jury heard.

Mr Leonard said: “It is not possible to say what caused the attack to take place. It was on any view a ferocious attack — after he was felled to the ground he was kicked about the body and head and his head was stamped on with some force.

“He was kicked violently. Whatever caused them to attack him drink played a part.”

The court heard that people on the campus had witnessed the attack and been able to identify some of the defendants, including Zulfiqar — referred to as ‘the fat Pakistani’.

Mr Leonard said: “The three defendants were stood around the deceased and began to kick him and stamp on him once he had fallen to the ground. One witness likened the noises he heard to someone playing football — he could hear kicking and stamps.

“A teenage girl heard the fat Pakistani — Zulfiqar — saying ‘we killed a white man’.”

The three then left the scene, setting off car alarms as they went and later assaulting a waiter in a curry restaurant, the jury heard.

Meanwhile, other people had gone to Mr Yates’ aid but were unable to find a pulse, said Mr Leonard. He died shortly after.

“A post mortem was carried out”, he said. “Severe force had been used to cause injuries to the head. The deceased had sustained extensive fracturing to the facial bones as a result of multiple stamps or kicks.

“There were no signs he had tried to defend himself. That is because it happened very suddenly. The cause of death was given as facial injuries.”

Maqsood, Zulfiqar and Bashir, all from Ilford, each deny murder.

The trial continues.

Teen Gets Life for Racist Turf War Murder

Life Style Extra (UK), Oct. 14

A teenage Kosovan gang member who beat a Londoner to death with a five foot pole when racial tension in the area boiled over was jailed for life today.

The Old Bailey was told how Vincent Swift, 27, was left brain damaged and fatally injured after being beaten about the head with a tree support pole by 17 year-old Benet Sulkaj.

The attack happened on September 28 last year after racial tension between local youths and Kosovan youths came to a head.

The Kosovan group was targetted first, said James Curtis QC, prosecuting — but responded by arming themselves with deadly weapons, with Sulkaj old murdering Mr Swift in a fight in Thornton Heath, south London.

Sulkaj was convicted of murder and jailed for life. Judge Stephen Kramer lifted an order previously banning his identity from being published on account of his age.

Sentencing him, Judge Kramer said: “In broad daylight in a surburban residential street you attacked Vincent Swift in the street, using a fearsome weapon.

“You cracked him over the head with that weapon with such force that you caused severe head injury from which he later died.

“You had been the subject of abusive and racist remarks made in the street to you but instead of calling the police or retreating you armed yourself with a weapon.

“It was a premeditated and brutal assault.”

He was told it will be at least ten years before he is even considered for release.

Fellow Kosovan gang members Gentian Molla, 19, and another 17 year old, who cannot be named because of his age, were both convicted of violent disorder. Molla was jailed for 27 months and the teenager for 12.

Mr Swift’s brother Richard, 19, and co-defendant Guy Fitch, 19, also took part in the fight alongside the murder victim. The court heard they had provoked the incident, hurling racist abuse at the Kosovans and telling them to ‘go back to your country’.

They both denied violent disorder but each was convicted by the jury. Swift was jailed for 21 months and Fitch to 18. There were angry shouts from the public gallery as Swift was jailed.

James Curtis QC, prosecuting, said that the killing happened because racial tension in the area had bred resentment.

He told the court: “Regrettably, the Crown suggest one of the causes of this was racial.

“On the one side there were local youths who originated from south east London where these events took place, the Thornton Heath area.

“On the other side of the conflict were eastern Europeans, essentially Kosovans, who had come to live in the area and were also entitled to regard it as their home.

“Certain individuals in the locality clearly resented the presence of such Kosovans in their community and there must have been some sort of friction going on. Something may have triggered this resentment into what ended up as full scale violence.

“Certain of the local young men decided to have a go at the Kosovans, apparently to target them for being Kosovans.”

Three local youths had armed themselves with a stick, a bar, a torch and a chain of keys and set off to challenge the Kosovan group.

“The Crown say that the Kosovans who heard and witnessed this and who were on the receiving end of it grossly overreacted. They were in no immediate danger provided they kept out of the way and let this goading or targetting pass.

“But they decided to go on in a way which was out of all proportion to any threat to them.”

He said that Molla and Sulkaj had gone home to arm themselves with a kitchen knife, the five foot tree pole and a car steering wheel lock.

“They then attacked their targets with great violence”, said Mr Curtis. “Mr Swift was killed by a series of terrible blows to the side of his head inflicted by a man repeatedly striking him with the tree support stick.

“That killed him and the Crown say that was virtually inevitable. They used these weapons in retaliation. They had no justification for the beating and killing that they meted out in return.

“Mr Swift sustained severe brain damage.”

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