Son of Islamist cleric Abu Hamza jailed for robbery
Published 08/11/2012 | 18:35
THE son of Islamist cleric Abu Hamza turned to crime after being shunned by schoolmates because of his father's notoriety, a court has heard.
Norwich Crown Court was told that Imran Mostafa, 20, was sucked into offending because he had been isolated from mainstream society as parents warned their children to stay away from him.
As he was jailed today for his part in a robbery in Norfolk, Mostafa's barrister told how he had a "normal relationship" with his father until the age of 11 when Hamza was jailed.
Roderick Price added: "He had an unusual childhood and young adulthood.
"In his early childhood he had a very good relationship with his father who, at that time, was not in prison.
"But attempts to socialise outside his home often failed because of who his father was.
"He became more and more isolated and his social life became centred around his family.
"Friendships proved difficult because children would be told by their parents not to play with him."
Mostafa threw himself into school work gaining 11 GCSEs at A or B grade followed by A-levels, Mr Price added.
But he dropped out of a civil engineering course at university after attempts to break away from his reputation faltered and he experienced similar isolation.
Since being remanded in custody over the offence, he was placed in segregation because of the identity of his father.
Mr Price said Mostafa had been hit hard by Hamza's recent extradition to the US, adding: "He knows he will never see his father again.
"This is very hard for him because his father treated him in an entirely normal way as a son."
Mostafa, of Deverills Way, Slough, was part of a gang who used a handgun and sledgehammer in a "sophisticated and well planned" raid.
The robbery happened at the Francis Wain store in King's Lynn just before 10am on January 31.
Gems worth about £70,000 were stolen in the smash and grab raid.
Prosecutor Ian James said: "Some kind of smoke producing device was set off causing the attention of the public to be diverted to the van they used and shielding from public view the identity of those involved."
Mr James added that the "violent intrusion" was captured on CCTV and showed one of the robbers waving a handgun.
"For those who had the misfortune to be working in the premises it must have been an absolutely terrifying experience," he said.
Mostafa had denied robbery and possessing a firearm with intent to commit an offence along with 18-year-old Jonathan Abdul from London but both were convicted after a trial in September.
Today they were sentenced alongside Ossama Hamed, 19, of Greswell Street in Fulham and Ahmed Ahmed, 20, of Nag's Head Road in Enfield, who had previously admitted the same charges.
Passing sentence, judge Peter Jacobs said: "This was plainly a terrifying robbery.
"Staff were praying that they would not be shot and they continue to suffer trauma."
Mostafa, who looked relaxed and wore a grey tracksuit with the initials of USA Track and Field across it in court, was jailed for 11 years.
Abdul will serve 11 years in a youth offenders institute, Hamed will serve eight years and three months and Ahmed seven years and four months.
Nicholas Wells, mitigating for Hamed, argued the raid had not been well planned.
"He is not set on a criminal future," he added.
Stephen Spence, for Ahmed, said his client was not a sophisticated criminal and regretted his actions.
Mr Spence added: "To quote Captain Mainwaring, 'He's a stupid boy',"
David Bird, for Abdul, said he had lived a "life of turmoil" moving around various countries after leaving his homeland of Eritrea.
The judge had ordered that details of Mostafa's parentage should not be reported until the jury had reached its verdict.
Hamza last month pleaded not guilty to terror charges in a New York court following his extradition from the UK.
He denies charges that he conspired with US nationals to set up a terrorist training camp in the state of Oregon.
Hamza will stand trial next August and will also face charges of abducting tourists in Yemen.
Outside court, Mostafa's solicitor Aseem Taj read a statement on his behalf.
In it, Mostafa sent a message to his father, saying: "I will love you always." He apologised to the victims of the robbery but claimed he was the victim of a conspiracy.
He said: "I feel that this is a plot against my father, myself and my family.
"They've locked me up for something I did not do, all because of the conspiracy against my father and his beliefs.
"Me and my family have been subjected to a witch hunt and everybody seems to forget the simple fact that we are humans and have feelings just like you and your children."
He said that he had not been given the opportunity to say goodbye to his father but he knew Hamza's "fight for innocent people and their beliefs" would go on.