Tag Archive: Beeston

3-year-old Laasya becomes musical sensation with her super xylophone-playing skills

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MAESTRO: -3-year-old Laasya’s capacity to soak up information sees her play 52 tunes by memory on her xylophone

MAESTRO: -3-year-old Laasya’s capacity to soak up information sees her play 52 tunes by memory on her xylophone

 

Musical princess plays 52 tunes

A three-year-old youngster from Beeston is adding more tunes to her repertoire on a daily basis as her extraordinary ability continues to grow.

At the ripe age of two, Laasya’s capacity to grasp information was noticed when she was reciting Sanskirt poetry to the amazement of her parents, which lead them to introduce her to music.

Jithender Chigurupati and Aparna Chodagam speak of their overriding joy about the birth of their daughter’s gifts: “At first she wasn’t interested in the xylophone, but as her mother began tapping a few songs to get her attention and she began to show a keen interest,” says dad.

“Her first song was the ABC nursery rhyme which was picked up quickly after a few being shown a few times.

“We obviously didn’t want to force her into anything but as her interest peaked she was able to learn three short songs in the space of an hour which still.

“She was soon able to listen to a nursery rhyme and mimic the song on her xylophone. Started with Baa Baa Black Sheep, a personal favourite of hers along with Inchy Wincy Spider, she is now trying out any tune.”  

The Park Lane Primary Academy pupil’s musical talents were soon noticed by others: “We have uploaded numerous videos of Laasya’s talents and have received very positive feedback from friends and family which has delighted us that she is able to show her incredible skills off.

PROUD: Dad Jithendar and mum Aparna beam at their daughter’s skills

PROUD: Dad Jithendar and mum Aparna beam at their daughter’s skills

 

“After her performance in nursery just before Easter it brought her even more joy and now everyday she is practising.”

The family are waiting to hear back from the Guinness Book of World Records after discovering only a handful of xylophone records which all belong people much older than Laasya.

She is also a dab hand with her general knowledge following mum and dad buying a book to learn more about the world which she was again interested in and has developed a list of questions that she can answer fluently.

Jithender and Aparna are keen to encourage their daughter:

“It’s hard for us to say hang on, that’s enough because we don’t want to strain her brain, but as long as she is happily playing songs then we are equally happy.

“Laasya has a wonderful artistic flair whether she is dancing, painting or playing music. It is now up to her to explore her talent as she chooses.”

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Party in the house: Leeds housing boss plans to celebrate-30 years

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PROUD: Ali Akbor, chief executive of Unity Homes and Enterprise will be celebrating three decades in housing

PROUD: Ali Akbor, chief executive of Unity Homes and Enterprise will be celebrating three decades in housing

The chief executive of Leeds-based housing association has spoken of his pride on the organisation’s achievements and future plans as it prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary next year.

Unity Homes and Enterprise was set-up as a community housing association in 1987 to address the needs of black and minority ethnic communities in Leeds.

The initial focus was on Chapeltown, where it continues to have its headquarters. But over the years its activities have widened to other areas of the city including Harehills, Beeston, Holbeck and Chapel Allerton.

Its extensive work now includes supporting local entrepreneurial activity through Unity Enterprise, a subsidiary company, and helping local people to access jobs and training with assistance from Unity Employment Services.

“It is useful for organisations like us to step back from time to time to reflect on the journey we have made and our achievements,” said Ali Akbor, who will also be marking 18 years as the association’s chief executive in January.

“When I joined Unity, we managed fewer than 700 homes. We now have responsibility for more than 1,200 properties with advanced plans to increase that number by up to 200 before the end of the decade. This includes the official opening of 26 new properties in Leeds – at Hunslet and Little London – in the coming weeks.”

But Mr Akbor was keen to stress that working with partners, including Leeds City Council and the Homes and Communities Agency, to meet housing need was just one element of Unity’s drive to regenerate local communities.

“We are fiercely ambitious on behalf of the people and neighbourhoods we serve,” he explained.
“Economic, social and physical regeneration go hand in hand.

“Building high quality affordable homes is obviously fundamental to everything we do. But so too is being proactive in stimulating local business activity and helping our tenants into jobs.

“Unity Enterprise now provides 130 managed workspaces for around 80 local businesses in three centres close to Leeds city centre. And last year we helped 77 people to find work, 120 to access accredited skills training and 15 to gain work placements.”

Looking ahead to 2017, Mr Akbor said he believed the work of BME-led organisations was more ever now than for many years.

“I am immensely proud that our tenants now come from all communities and ethnic backgrounds, but we have not forgotten our roots,” he continued.

“As we look back over the three decades of Unity’s existence, we must acknowledge the advances this country has made on equality and diversity. We’ve been progressive in comparison with many other nations. But to maintain that lead, these issues must return to the top of the policy agenda where they haven’t been of late.

“The United Kingdom faces new challenges which have been exacerbated in the wake of the EU referendum. We’ve read headlines about a divided nation. We’ve witnessed an increase in anti-immigration views. Cohesion has been challenged in some areas including an increase in hate crime.

“Community housing associations like ours do make a difference, and we hope to make that difference for many years to come.”

 

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Punching his way to the podium

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TIPPED FOR THE TOP: Ismail Khan has been invited to a GB training camp and hopes to land a place on the podium team (pic credit: Sam Young)

TIPPED FOR THE TOP: Ismail Khan has been invited to a GB training camp and hopes to land a place on the podium team (pic credit: Sam Young)

Beeston boxer has eyes on national stage

A boxer’s first year as a senior is so often the defining year for their sporting career. Will they make it to the big time or will they struggle to make an impact outside of the junior divisions?

For Leeds boxer, Ismail Khan, his inaugural term in the ‘big leagues’ couldn’t have gone much better, with his latest call up to a Great Britain assessment camp the icing on the cake.

Over the past 12 months, the 18-year-old Bradford College student has won the English elite title belt, the northern belt and made it to the final of the Senior Elite Championships – despite being the youngest competitor.

This weekend he will face off against representatives from across Great Britain as he takes his position as the England representative in the Three Nations in Dunfermline, Scotland.

After a whirlwind rise in the sport, Khan says he is ready for any challenge which may lie ahead.

FAMILY AFFAIR: Ismail’s father, Rash Khan, is his trainer at KBW boxing gym (pic credit: Sam Young)

FAMILY AFFAIR: Ismail’s father, Rash Khan, is his trainer at KBW boxing gym (pic credit: Sam Young)

“It’s been an amazing start to my first year as a senior and it's only getting better,” he said.

“I will perform to the best of my ability in the Three Nations and that will hopefully result in me getting a place on team GB.

“There are busy times ahead and I am more than ready.”

Khan fights out of the KBW Boxing Gym in Dewsbury and is coached by his father, Rash.

The close-knit family team say they have high hopes for the near and distant future with national international stages calling for the local big hitter.

“In his first senior year, he’s succeeded way beyond my expectations,” Rash said. “He’s really had an amazing year and excelled so much.

“I think there is even more to come for him yet and we couldn’t have asked for a better year.”

Success in the GB assessment could potentially see Khan signed up to the GB Podium squad with such a move potentially opening doors to future Commonwealth and Olympic opportunities.

“That’s our goal,” Rash added. “If he keeps training and developing his technique the way he has been, I don’t see why he can’t go all the way.”

HEAVY HITTER: Ismail possesses both speed and power

HEAVY HITTER: Ismail possesses both speed and power

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Calais’ charitable chaps: Beeston boys visit camp in brother’s memory

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goods (338x450)Earlier this month, six local men from Beeston visited the refugee camp in Dunkirk, Calais, to deliver around 500 hampers which were organised by local Leeds volunteers and children.

The mission was organised in the memory of 36 year-old Amjid Karim’s brother, Rashid, who passed away on 1st January 2015.

Amjid, a youth worker, wanted to do something that his brother would be proud of, so he cooked up a plan with Manazar Hussain, Naser Khan, Tack Maskin, Junade Akram and Sajid Hussain.

The giving group, aged between 24 and 36, decided to set sail to France to help and support refugees in camps in whichever way they could.

Prior to departure, the charitable chaps began raising funds for the trip, eventually bringing in £6,000 to help with the purchase of essentials such as gas, oil, fresh fruit and bread.

HAPPY: The trip put a smile on the faces of many refugees’, as well as the volunteers

HAPPY: The trip put a smile on the faces of many refugees’, as well as the volunteers

Amjid said: “We were inundated with dummies, baby wipes, milk bottles, ibuprofen, paracetamol and all the basic medical care. The local community were so fantastic.

“There were a lot of vulnerable people out there, especially children, so our priority was to get these children shoes on their feet, food, energy bars and some gas in the tents.

“I wish I had recorded some of their reactions because their smiles are something money can’t buy.

“It’s that connection, that warmth, from both children and adults who are living their lives minute-to-minute - not knowing what tomorrow will bring.”

Amjid said there were between 2,500 to 3,000 people in the camp at Dunkirk in a ‘dire’ situation.

ESSENTIAL GOODS: Much needed items included fruit and eggs, which are high in nutrition and vitamins

ESSENTIAL GOODS: Much needed items included fruit and eggs, which are high in nutrition and vitamins

He continued: “The queues in some of the camps snaked around for miles, with 300 people in each line. When we got to speak to the family members who had been in the camps for months on end, they basically told us that they wanted to go back to their own countries.

“However, due to the war and conflict they were stuck. They said it was not their choice. From what we’ve seen, they were really thankful for what we were doing for them. It becomes a duty. It’s a human crisis and you’re seeing it first-hand. Your heart actually bleeds for these people.”

As well as food supplies, Amjid and his group took footballs to the camp and played with the kids.

He said: “It was such a buzz to have a kick around. Words can’t explain the difference it made.

“Giving out chocolate bars, packet of crisps, fruit juices – it made those kids’ day. We also took over some clothes, jackets so that they could stay warm. It was like Eid or Christmas had come early for them.”

BAGS OF FUN: A young refugee girl receives a bag of goodies all the way from Beeston

BAGS OF FUN: A young refugee girl receives a bag of goodies all the way from Beeston

Amjid didn’t advertise his trip in any shape or form but suggests that the young people of Yorkshire should go over there and ‘learn and appreciate what we take for granted in life’.

“Whether you’re Muslim, Catholic, Protestant or Atheist – it makes no difference. It is an eye-opener to see so many agencies out there,” he said.

“I would like to say a huge thank you to the local community and businesses who have contributed massively to this cause it just goes to show how caring these people are when it comes to think of those who are less fortunate than themselves.”

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He’s a belter!!!

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UNDISPUTED: The West Yorkshire boxer outfought his East Ridings opponent to earn a unanimous point’s victory. (Pic courtesy Sam Young)

UNDISPUTED: The West Yorkshire boxer outfought his East Ridings opponent to earn a unanimous point’s victory. (Pic courtesy Sam Young)

VICTORY: Ismail Khan is the new holder of the 52kg Senior Elite English Title Belt. (Pic courtesy Sam Young)

VICTORY: Ismail Khan is the new holder of the 52kg Senior Elite English Title Belt. (Pic courtesy Sam Young)

Elite English belt for teen dream Ismail Khan

In the world of boxing, the name ‘Khan’ has certainly grown in reputation, with Amir leading the way for namesakes the world over.

Today, one 18-year-old from Beeston is working hard to live up to the ‘Khan’ label, as Ismail continues to reach new heights in the amateur divisions.

The KBW trained boxer clinched his biggest victory to date last weekend after winning the 52kg Senior Elite English Title Belt against Hull ABC’s Ryan Gibbons.

Facing off at Rotherham’s Magna Centre, the pair clashed in front of a bumper crowd for the vacant title, with West Yorkshire’s representative eventually being awarded a unanimous point’s decision.

Khan, who had won the NABC national title back in December, knew that the fight with Gibbons would be a tough one with his Yorkshire compatriot previously winning the Haringey Box Cup Gold medal.

Despite the duo’s much-hyped fight, it was Khan who, competing in his first senior bout without a head-guard, was fastest out of the blocks.

BIG HIT: Khan lands a big left hook on his way to beating Ryan Gibbons. (Pic courtesy Sam Young)

BIG HIT: Khan lands a big left hook on his way to beating Ryan Gibbons. (Pic courtesy Sam Young)

Some lightning hand speed and brilliant footwork left Gibbons chasing the fight from the first bell, and in the end, the result was a clear win for Khan.

The Elite English belt is the latest accolade to join the young prospect’s growing collection and one which was made extra special with the support of his team.

“I am so over the moon with my achievement,” he said. “I have an amazing team at KBW, brilliant coaches and team mates that keep me motivated, and I wouldn't be where I am without them all.

“A special thank you must go to my sponsor as well for their continued support.”

Khan will make the first defence of his belt on 20th February at Rainton Meadows, in county Durham, before sights turn to the senior ABA championships in April.

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Beeston boxing teen becomes national champion

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CHAMP: Ismail Khan is the new NABGC 52kg champion

CHAMP: Ismail Khan is the new NABGC 52kg champion

Ismail Khan fights his way to the top

As British boxers continue to dominate sport headlines around the world this month, a local Leeds fighter has proven he is certainly ‘one to watch’ for the future after clinching a prestigious national title.

Bradford College Student, Ismail Khan, fought his way to victory in the National Association of Boys and Girls Clubs (NABGC) last week, triumphing in the 52kg category against the experienced James McDonagh.

Having qualified through the regional heats last month, the 18-year-old arrived at the national finals on Thursday 3rd December at Sir Phillip Game Centre in Croydon.

Both boxers made a cautious start to the contest, opting to fight on the back foot and waiting for their opponents to make a mistake and present an opening.

It was eventually Khan’s lightening hand speed and perfect timing which gave him the advantage over McDonagh, who had previously only suffered one defeat in his amateur career.

Landing some well-timed combinations in the second round, he kept out of reach of McDonagh’s jab, dominating the closing exchanges.

After a sweaty and sensational fight, Khan claimed a unanimous point’s decision and is now the proud holder of the NABGC 2015 title.

With the ABAs now in his sights, the future looks bright for the boxer from Beeston with this latest achievement put down to hard work and teamwork.

BOXING: Khan says he has the ABAs in his sights as he hopes to build up a reputation in the amateurs

BOXING: Khan says he has the ABAs in his sights as he hopes to build up a reputation in the amateurs

Speaking after his championship win, Ismail said: “I was really happy to win this title and I’ve worked extremely hard to get it this year.

“I knew this year was my year, since joining KBW. We have an excellent team and brilliant facilities and I have progressed really well since I moved.

“I’d like to give a big thank you to my father (and coach) Rash Khan, for putting the time in with me over the years and also my KBW coaches; Alan Haque, Tanny Hussain, Shammy Cheema and my old coach Keith Tate from Cleckheaton Boxing Academy.

“I would also like to thank all my team mates and friends, not forgetting my previous clubs, Burmantofts ABC and Hunslet Boys’ Club from Leeds, where I started my boxing journey as a child.”

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14 years in prison for Beeston rapist

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PRISON: Zdenko Turtak was given a 14 year custodial sentence and a six year extended licence this week for the attack and rape of a woman in Beeston

PRISON: Zdenko Turtak was given a 14 year custodial sentence and a six year extended licence this week for the attack and rape of a woman in Beeston

Attacker sentenced following brutal rape

A 22-year-old man from Slovakia was this week jailed for at least 14 years following the brutal assault and rape of a woman in Leeds earlier this year.

Zdenko Turtak, from Kosice, was handed a 14 year custodial sentence and a six year extended licence at Leeds Crown Court on Tuesday 20th October after pleading guilty to the charges earlier in the month.

The 18-year-old victim had been stood at a bus stop in Beeston Road at about 10.40pm on Friday 6th March when she was grabbed from behind and dragged into a nearby garden.

Hidden from view behind a large hedge, she was struck over the head 18 times with a rock and raped.

Following extensive investigation work by West Yorkshire Police and other crime agencies, it was determined that Turtak was the wanted man, and he had fled back to Slovakia just three weeks after the attack.

After working with international officers, he was arrested in Bratislava, and flown back to Liverpool where a police van transported him to the custody suite at Leeds District Headquarters, in Elland Road.

Of note, the van was driven by the first officer on the scene on the night of the attack. Detectives had arranged for him to do it after he requested ‘the honour’ of being involved in his detention having ‘witnessed first-hand what this male did to the victim’.

VIOLENT: Turtak hit the victim over the head 18 times with the rock as he carried out his shocking assault

VIOLENT: Turtak hit the victim over the head 18 times with the rock as he carried out his shocking assault

Detective Superintendent Nick Wallen, who led the investigation, said following the sentencing: “This was a massively challenging investigation due to the circumstances we were faced with, set against the understandably high level of public concern and what we know now about the offender that made him difficult to track down.

“The fact the whole attack was caught on CCTV gave us a really disturbing insight into the type of offender we were dealing with. It was quite clear early on that this was a sexual predator who was out looking for a victim to attack and was prepared to use a high level of physical and sexual violence.

“Sexual attacks of this magnitude are relatively rare but when they do occur they will always attract a thorough and comprehensive response from the police. We hope this case will demonstrate how seriously West Yorkshire Police treats offences of this nature and the lengths we will go to to get justice for victims and to keep our communities safe.”

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Beeston rapist mugshot released

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GUILTY: Zdenko Turtak will be sentenced on Monday 19th October after pleading guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent and rape

GUILTY: Zdenko Turtak will be sentenced on Monday 19th October after pleading guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent and rape

Sentencing date set for Slovakian attacker

The first image of a Slovakian man, who admitted raping and violently attacking a woman in Beeston earlier this year, has been released.

It was ruled last week that 21-year-old Zdenko Turtak, from Kosice, will not face charges of attempted murder allowing his mugshot to be released by West Yorkshire Police.

The charge was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service, following an earlier not guilty plea by Turtak in his September trial.

During that same court appearance, he did however plead guilty to charges of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and rape, and will now be sentenced on Monday 19th October.

Following the assault on the 18-year-old in Beeston on 6th March this year, a huge police operation was put into place to trace Turtak.

IMAGES: CCTV images of Turtak were seen around the world as he was tracked down following an attack in Beeston earlier this year

IMAGES: CCTV images of Turtak were seen around the world as he was tracked down following an attack in Beeston earlier this year

The victim had been attacked as she waited at a bus stop in Beeston Road, near to the junction with Tempest Road.

She was dragged into a nearby garden where she was struck over the head numerous times with a large stone before being seriously sexually assaulted.

Unidentified at the time, only CCTV images and a police e-fit were available of Turtak as officers appealed for information as to the identity of the assailant.

A reconstruction of the crime was featured on BBC’s Crimewatch and he was eventually traced to Slovakia.

He was arrested by Slovakian authorities and extradited to the UK in July with help from the National Crime Agency and the West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team.

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Slovakian man pleads GUILTY to violent attack and rape in Beeston

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CHARGED: CCTV images of Zdenko Turtak were released following the attack in Beeston earlier this year

CHARGED: CCTV images of Zdenko Turtak were released following the attack in Beeston earlier this year

A 21-year-old European, who was extradited back to the UK by officers from West Yorkshire Police earlier this year, has admitted to the brutal rape and assault on a teenager in Leeds.

Zdenko Turtak, from Kosice, Slovakia, appeared in front of Leeds Crown Court on Friday 25th September, where he pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm with intent and rape.

To the charge of attempted murder he pleaded not guilty.

Following the assault on the 18-year-old in Beeston on 6th March this year, a huge police operation was put into place to trace Turtak.

The victim had been attacked as she waited at a bus stop in Beeston Road, near to the junction with Tempest Road.

She was dragged into a nearby garden where she was struck over the head numerous times with a large stone before being seriously sexually assaulted.

Unidentified at the time, only CCTV images and a police e-fit were available of Turtak as officers appealed for information as to the identity of the assailant.

A reconstruction of the crime was featured on BBC’s Crimewatch and he was eventually traced to Slovakia.

FLED: The search for Turtak eventually finished in Slovakia where he was traced and extradited back to the UK

FLED: The search for Turtak eventually finished in Slovakia where he was traced and extradited back to the UK

He was arrested by Slovakian authorities and extradited to the UK in July with help from the National Crime Agency and the West Yorkshire Police Homicide and Major Enquiry Team.

Speaking previously, Detective Superintendent Nick Wallen, explained: “Once the warrant was granted, we liaised with the Slovakian police through the National Crime Agency to secure the arrest of this man.

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‘We will fight on’ ‘Devastated’ family to appeal five year prison sentence for ‘innocent son’

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A family from Leeds have said they will ‘do whatever it takes’ to prove the innocence of their youngest son after he was handed a five year prison sentence earlier this month.

24-year-old Shamas Ahmad, from Beeston, was sentenced by the Leeds Crown Court on Friday 11th April following his conviction for Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) in July last year.

Whilst working as a doorman at an establishment in Leeds, Shamas was involved in a dispute with a group of customers and it is alleged that he struck one of them ‘four times’ with a glass.

However, following the father-of-one’s sentencing, his family are adamant that he is innocent and was purely ‘acting in self-defence’ after being attacked by a group of between eight and ten customers.

Shamas’ father, Mukhtar Ahmad, spoke emotionally about his son and his disbelief at the court’s final verdict.

“He is my youngest of four sons so he is the favourite I think it is fair to say,” he said. “We were all just shocked when we heard ‘five years’ because he has always insisted on his innocence.

WIFE: Ambreen Ahmad has been married to Shamas for two years and relies on her husband for support

WIFE: Ambreen Ahmad has been married to Shamas for two years and relies on her husband for support

“He has a wife, a child and works in Sainsbury’s. He is not a violent person and he is my carer. I don’t know what I would do without his help.

“We are not a rich family but we will do whatever it takes to prove his innocence, and if it means we have to re-mortgage then that is what we will do.”

Shamas is the youngest of four brothers and finished working as a doorman following the incident, taking up a full-time position at one of Leeds’ Sainsbury’s stores.

Having previously never been in trouble with the police, his brothers, Shahban and Shabab expressed their disappointment at the way the whole case was handled.

“At the beginning we weren’t fully prepared because it wasn’t until about two weeks before the actual trial that we realised how serious the charge was,” Shabab explained.

“I know my brother and if there was any small inkling that he was guilty we wouldn’t be having this conversation now. From the very start, when he was taken to the police station, he didn’t ask for a solicitor because he knew in himself that he was innocent and hadn’t done anything wrong.

PRISON: Shamas Ahmad was sentenced to five years in prison after a dispute in Leeds’ Bierkeller last year resulted in him allegedly hitting a customer with a glass, after Shamas was attacked by a group

PRISON: Shamas Ahmad was sentenced to five years in prison after a dispute in Leeds’ Bierkeller last year resulted in him allegedly hitting a customer with a glass, after Shamas was attacked by a group

“His glowing character reference from his manager at Sainsbury’s also shows that this is completely out of his character.

“He was a doorman and was there to protect others but they’ve made it out as if he had gone crazy.”
Five witnesses spoke against Shamas at the trial, whilst the family’s only witness, a fellow doorman at the establishment, attempted to proclaim his former colleague’s innocence.

This was another thing the family say was ‘unjust’ with the cross examinations reportedly taking longer for the five witnesses than their own.

“Eric (Shamas’ witness) was examined and cross examined within 15 minutes whilst their five witnesses took hours each on the stand,” Shabab continued.

“It just seems that the whole case was rushed and because of that important details were overlooked.

There wasn’t any CCTV in operation until two days after the event took place and by then it was too late.

PARENTS: Mr Mukhtar Ahmad and his wife Mrs Tehira Nasreen had to fight back tears as they spoke about their son and pleaded his innocence

PARENTS: Mr Mukhtar Ahmad and his wife
Mrs Tehira Nasreen had to fight back tears as they spoke about their son and pleaded his innocence

“Their witnesses, most of them had been drinking all day so were drunk at the time of the event, almost all contradicted each other’s’ statements.

“Even our solicitor, Nasser Ali Khan, did not seem to have sufficient paperwork for the defence; it was only five pages of A4 in length and when we tried to question him on it he wouldn’t answer.”

The family have 28 days from the date of the sentencing to appeal and are currently waiting for the court’s transcripts to come through the post – something which has cost them £2,500 to obtain.

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