Eight men cleared of Birmingham riot deaths

 

Eight men were cleared today of murdering three friends who were mowed down by a car during last summer's riots.

The Crown had alleged that Haroon Jahan, Shazad Ali and Abdul Musavir were protecting local businesses when they were murdered in the modern-day equivalent of a "chariot charge" involving three cars in Winson Green, Birmingham.

But Ryan Goodwin, Shaun Flynn, Juan Ruiz-Gaviria, Joshua Donald, Everton Graham, Adam King, Ian Beckford and Aaron Parkins were cleared of three counts of murder each by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court today.

The jury retired yesterday and had been deliberating for just over four hours.

After the verdicts, trial judge Mr Justice Flaux appealed for calm on the streets of Birmingham and urged the community to respect the jury's findings.

The judge said: "On any view this has been a terrible case - a tragic and pointless loss of three young lives.

"However, by their verdicts the jury have decided that this was not a deliberate killing, that there was no plan to kill these three young men.

"The jury have decided that this was a terrible accident."

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. What happened on the streets of Birmingham and other cities last August should never be repeated."

The prosecution had 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.

It was alleged that a Ford Fiesta and an Audi car were used to lure pedestrians into the road, where they were hit by a Mazda.

But the defendants denied the existence of any plan to harm pedestrians and the driver of the Mazda, 30-year-old Ian Beckford, denied deliberately driving into the victims.

Beckford, of Holly Bush Grove, Quinton, Birmingham, told the trial he was good friends with siblings Mr Musavir, 31, and Mr Ali, 30, and had not intended to knock down, kill or seriously harm any member of the crowd.

Hours after the deaths, 21-year-old Haroon Jahan's father Tariq made an emotional appeal to groups of youths gathered outside his home in Winson Green.

His call for calm was credited with helping to bring an end to the riots and he later received an award for his compassion and dignity in the aftermath of his son's death.

PA

Suggested Topics
Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried