Boy stabbed to death at home in 'botched contract killing'
AN INNOCENT public schoolboy was murdered by "staggeringly incompetent" contract killers who got the wrong address after being recruited by a Dubai-born criminal to murder another man, a court heard yesterday.
Ben Hope, 38, and Jason Richards, 37, stabbed Aamir Siddiqi, 17, to death in the hallway of his family home after the A-level student opened the door expecting his Koran teacher, a jury was told.
His parents tried to fight off the masked men and also suffered stab wounds.
Cardiff Crown Court heard that the two men were hired to carry out a revenge attack on a man who lived in a street less than 100 yards away. The alleged killers mixed up the addresses because they had taken so many drugs.
They were paid a "pittance" for the attack by Mohammed Ali Ege, a criminal from Dubai who is on the run after fleeing abroad, the court was told. Mr Ege drove an Audi TT and a Porsche Cayenne and would often deal in large sums of cash, it was claimed.
Patrick Harrington QC, prosecuting. said Mr Ege, 32, ordered the pair to carry out the attack over the non-return of a £50,000 deposit on a house.
"We know a lot about Mohammed Ali Ege. We know where he lived, we know what cars he drove, and we know what car his girlfriend drives," Mr Harrington told the court. "He spent lavishly and almost all in cash. What we don't know is where he is. We know he's not at home."
Aamir, described as a "young gentleman" by his parents, planned to take a degree in law in Cardiff University after taking his A-levels at a £9,000-a-year private school. He was the youngest of four children and the only one still living at the five-bedroom family home overlooking Roath Park in Cardiff when the attack took place in April last year.
His father, Iqbal, 68, is a retired civil servant who worked for the Patent Office, and his mother Parveen, 55, is a retired education official.
Opening the prosecution case yesterday, Mr Harrington told the jury: "On a sunny Sunday afternoon, this young man was stabbed to death in the hallway of his home. Aamir's father and mother intervened to try and stop that murderous attack but they too were stabbed.
"Hope and Richards arrived at 1.30pm and that attack came out of nowhere for Aamir. Neither he nor his parents had any expectation that their lives would be shattered by that attack that day.
"These two men had been recruited to carry out that attack by Mohammed Ali Ege over a debt. Tragically for Aamir and his family, the killers went to the wrong house.
"They had been contracted to carry out their lethal attack at a different address.
"But what can only be described as staggering incompetence, they went to wholly the wrong address and killed an innocent young man who was waiting for his Koran teacher."
The court heard that Mr Hope and Mr Richards spent some of their "blood money" on a computer and shoes.
Mr Harrington said: "While the emergency services attempted to revive Aamir, the defendants went off in pursuit of their blood money. They then went on a shopping spree.
"It's a chilling thought that in this city there are two men who murdered for the price of a pair of training shoes and a laptop computer. That is what Ben Hope bought later that afternoon – he spent £700 on a laptop in PC World and £100 in a Foot Locker shoe shop."
The jury was told how the two knifemen "howled" throughout the attack to intimidate their victims.
Mr Harrington said Mr Hope and Mr Richards later blamed each other for the murder. He told the court: "Ben Hope admits he was in the company of Jason Richards at times during the day and he went to the shops with him.
"He claims that during the afternoon, having taken heroin, he fell asleep and does not know anything Jason Richards did."
Mr Hope, of Roath, Cardiff, and Mr Richards, of nearby Cathays, both deny murder. The trial continues.