Eight men cleared of riot deaths after cars mowed down locals
EIGHT men have been cleared by a jury of "deliberately running down and killing" three men during riots.
Haroon Jahan (20), Shazad Ali (31) and Abdul Musavir (30) were protecting local businesses during last summer's riots in Birmingham.
It was claimed they were mown down in a modern-day equivalent of a "chariot charge" involving three cars in Winson Green, Birmingham. But yesterday eight men in the cars were cleared of three counts of murder each at Birmingham Crown Court after just four hours of jury deliberations.
Ryan Goodwin, Shaun Flynn, Juan Ruiz-Gaviria, Joshua Donald, Everton Graham, Adam King, Ian Beckford and Aaron Parkins all walked free.
After the verdicts, the trial judge, Mr Justice Flaux, appealed for calm on the streets and urged people to respect the jury's findings.
The judge, who said the deaths occurred at a time of unprecedented civil disorder, added: "It is important that however strong feelings are within the community in Winson Green and adjacent areas, that calm is maintained and that these verdicts are respected.
"Any other action would not be honouring those who died. In fact, quite the reverse."
Addressing the relatives of the dead men, he said: "I know Mr Jahan has done wonderful things for the city in ensuring we didn't have a complete conflagration last August.
"Can I please ask you to remain calm and so far as it humanly possible to put everything that happened last August behind you and look to the future.
The prosecution alleged that all eight defendants were party to a plan to drive a vehicle at a crowd of people in Dudley Road, Winson Green, in the early hours of August 10 last year.
The deaths came against a backdrop of clashes between the Asian and black communities, with gangs seen roaming around the streets looking for places to loot, while shopkeepers and members of the community tried to repel them.
Mr Jahan's father, Tariq, who tended his dying son in the street, later made an emotional appeal which was credited with helping to end the riots.
Much of the case rested on telephone evidence between the men and CCTV footage which the Crown claimed showed an orchestrated three-car "chariot charge" planned in the minutes leading up to the fatal impact.
Paul Lewis, who defended Ian Beckford, driver of the Mazda car which was involved in the fatalities, said the collision happened when the three cars involved were "under serious attack" from groups of men throwing missiles. (© Daily Telegraph, London)