Cardiff schoolboy was 'murdered in bungled hit'


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The Independent Online

Two bungling hitmen went to the wrong address in a fatal mix-up and stabbed a teenage schoolboy to death, a court heard today.

Aamir Siddiqi, 17, was immediately attacked when he opened the front door to two armed men wearing balaclavas in April 2010.

The innocent teenager was brutally hacked down in a murderous attack on the doorstep of his home in Cardiff, south Wales.

Frantic parents Iqbal and Parveen Siddiqi fought to save their son but were knifed themselves as the men loudly howled as they stabbed the teenager, the court was told.

Ben Hope, 39, and Jason Richards, 38, went on trial today at Swansea Crown Court charged with murder.

Both men are also each accused of two separate counts of attempted murder on the victim's parents. They deny all charges.

The court heard that proceedings today are a re-trial after the jury in a Cardiff Crown Court case last year was discharged.

Patrick Harrington QC said Hope and Richards's intended victim lived in a similar red brick end-of-row house in a parallel road.

The men, both heroin addicts, were paid cash for the contract killing by a third man who cannot be named for legal reasons, he said.

The court was told he was in dispute with intended victim Mohammed Tanhai, the owner of the house at 85 Shirley Road, who owed the unnamed man £50,000.

"On Sunday April 11 2010, a young man, Aamir Siddiqi, was stabbed to death in the hallway of his home at 110 Ninian Road, Roath, Cardiff," Mr Harrington said.

"His father Iqbal and his mother Parveen intervened to try to stop this murderous attack and they too were stabbed. They were unable to stop their son's murder."

He said the murder could be described as a "contract killing" because the two men were recruited to carry it out.

But with "staggering ineptitude", Hope and Richards took a wrong turn.

"Tragically for the deceased and his family, although fortunately for the intended victim, the killers went to the wrong house.

"They were meant to carry out the attack at 85 Shirley Road. Instead they went to 110 Ninian Road and carried out the attack."

Mr Harrington said that Hope and Richards had used a stolen Volvo car on the day of the murder, later found abandoned.

Examination found traces of the teenager's blood in its footwell together with Hope's fingerprints and DNA matching Richards.

Investigators were able to trace the movements of both men before and after the killing using Cardiff's CCTV network.

The case against them also includes a large amount of evidence gathered from mobile phones allegedly used by both men, the court heard.

Mr Harrington said that after the brutal killing Hope and Richards were paid cash, before the alleged mistake in murdering the wrong person was revealed.

"Ben Hope went and bought himself a new pair of trainers and a laptop computer with the wages he was handed for murder."

Within days both men were arrested and "each defendant has contrived to create a case which blames the other", Mr Harringon added.

He told the jury that the prosecution agreed with both men to the extent that "the killer is in the dock".

"They are both right," Mr Harrington added.

"Jason Richards is right when he said Ben Hope did the killing and Ben Hope is right when he said that Jason Richards did the killing.

"What happened is that they did it together."

The trial, which is scheduled to run for up to six months, was adjourned until tomorrow when the prosecution opening is due to continue.