Ten months of mental torture
Leeds pensioner questions police response after being attacked in his own home
An 82-year-old man from Burley, who became a ‘human punching bag’ for a home invader last year, says justice has finally been done after his attacker was sentenced to six years in prison last week.
After almost 10 months of fighting for a conviction, Mohammed Sadiq saw the ‘would-be robber’, Daniel Plain, appear in front of Leeds Magistrates Court on Wednesday 8th July.
He pleaded guilty to attempted robbery, burglary and assault occasioning actual bodily harm after initially denying the charges when first questioned in 2014.
Mr Sadiq described his past year as ‘mental torture’ having seen the defendant initially walk free from court after a ‘lack of evidence’ failed to secure a prosecution.
“The law in this country is what keeps England great,” Mr Sadiq said. “But what I want to say to people out there is that sometimes you need courage and determination to fight for the truth, so you can get justice.
“It was a fantastic moment to receive the letter saying he had been sentenced to six years but it should not have taken this long.
“I am still waiting for answers as to why it took so long to convict him. It was mental torture for me for ten months. I didn’t know if he would come back and attack me again.”
Mr Sadiq, who is chairman of the Dost Student Welfare Trust – which provides free education to under privileged children in Pakistan, was attacked in his home late in the evening on Saturday 27th September 2014.
After initially hearing noises outside his home, he walked around his premises yet only found an empty beer can which had been placed on the side of his window.
At around midnight, he says there was a ‘loud bang’ in the kitchen and when he went to investigate there was a man ‘coming through the window’.
“He had come through the small window above the sink and was just standing in the kitchen,” Mr Sadiq explained.
“He then started hitting me and kept telling me ‘give me your money’. He put me down on the floor a few times and kept hitting me on the back.
“After about five or six minutes he ran out of the door and then I rung 999.
“I don’t know if he thought ‘this old man just isn’t giving up’, and decided to leave but I thought I could have been killed.”
Police and paramedics arrived at Mr Sadiq’s home soon after and began taking evidence from the scene.
Meanwhile, after opting not to go to hospital that night, Mr Sadiq took it upon himself to go see friends and family in Islamabad, Pakistan, where he spent almost a month in hospital and undergoing physiotherapy to help him stand straight.
Plain was detained by officers and appeared in front of Leeds Magistrates Court on Friday 31st October, where he denied all the charges.
Due to a lack of evidence, he was not prosecuted.
“I could not believe it when I heard that,” Mr Sadiq said. “This came as a big shock to me. I thought, ‘this cannot happen in England’.
“There must have been fingerprints in the kitchen, on the door and window, as there was a lot of fighting.
“I appealed to the Crown Prosecution Service because I couldn’t accept that there wasn’t clear evidence. The beer can was even still at my home which seemed very strange to me because there must have been some DNA on there.”
Another two weeks passed before a reply was received which again rejected the appeal due to the lack of evidence and because ‘it was not in the public interest to pursue more evidence’.
After consulting his local MP, Greg Mulholland, Mr Sadiq was advised to contact the CPS in London to appeal once again, which he did.
A 42-day period to collect evidence was requested, yet after that was unsuccessful, a further 42-days were added to the deadline.
Once again, after failing to gather sufficient evidence, the CPS requested a further 28 days, and then another 28 days on top of that until finally a definitive answer was mailed out.
On Tuesday 26th May, eight months after the attack Mr Sadiq received a letter confirming there was ‘sufficient evidence for there to be a realistic prospect of conviction in this (sic.) case and that a prosecution is in the public interest’.
“That was a really good moment for me,” he said. “The roots of English law means nobody, not even the Royal family, can get away with a crime if they are guilty.
“If you think you have suffered an injustice you should appeal because you will win if you fight for it.
“My local MP, Mr Greg Mulholland, really cared for my situation and showed exactly what an MP should be like.”