Hitmen who stabbed schoolboy Aamir Siddiqi to death in case of mistaken identity are jailed for life
Friday 08 February 2013
Two hitmen who stabbed an innocent schoolboy to death by mistake have been told they are likely to die behind bars after a judge handed them a minimum term of 40 years.
Ben Hope, 39, and Jason Richards, 38, both from Cardiff, were each paid £1,000 in "blood money" to murder a middle-aged family man who owed money to a shady businessman.
But the "hit" went tragically wrong when the balaclava-clad killers, who were high on drugs, went to the wrong address in Roath, Cardiff, in April 2010 and murdered teenager Aamir Siddiqi by mistake.
The 17-year-old's frantic parents, Iqbal and Parveen, fought to save their son but were knifed in turn by the killers, who let out chilling howls.
Hope and Richards - who already had a deplorable criminal record ahead of the stabbing - both protested their innocence during their four-and-a-half month trial at Swansea Crown Court.
But a jury unanimously found them guilty of Aamir's murder as well as the attempted murder of his parents.
Today, in sentencing, Mr Justice Royce said he had no choice but to "significantly increase" the minimum term of 30 years the prosecution had asked for.
He said: "Aamir Siddiqi was the youngest child and only son of Sheikh Iqbal and Parveen Ahmed.
"He was a bright, gentle and courteous boy who was much loved by his family.
"He had secured a place to study law at Cardiff and his future was brimming with promise.
"He was awaiting the arrival of his Koran teacher when he rushed past his parents to open the door.
"You two (Hope and Richards) came in, wearing balaclavas and making a terrible wailing sound.
"Your attack on him was brutal, savage, callous and cruel.
"You hacked him to death in front of his parents, who fought in vain to save Aamir.
"It was simply good fortune that they were not killed. It was your intention that they should die too.
"The aggravating features of this case mean the starting point should significantly increase.
"The starting point is 40 years.
"If you die in jail, few will shed a tear and many will say it will be more than deserved."
During their trial, the court heard that Hope and Richards had been paid by a businessman, angry over a collapsed property deal, to kill a father-of-four who lived in a neighbouring street.
But they went instead to a similar looking red brick, end-of-row house just around the corner in Ninian Road in the leafy suburb of Roath.
Aamir had run down the stairs to answer the door expecting to see his imam, who was due to give him a Koran lesson. Instead, he opened the front door in Ninian Road, Roath, to two masked killers high on heroin.
Hope and Richards wielded daggers over their heads and howled as they set upon the helpless A-level student.
The teenager desperately tried to run back into the house, but they chased him and repeatedly lashed out.
After the murder, a huge manhunt began, and the stolen Volvo car used in the crime was later found abandoned. Traces of Aamir's blood were found in the car's footwell, as were Hope's fingerprints and Richards' DNA.
Despite trying to blame one another for the killing, last week a jury reached a unanimous guilty verdict over the murder of Aamir as well as the attempted murder of his parents.
filmFilm producers sue Warner Bros for $75m over Hobbit films
sportNapoli 2 Arsenal 0: Gunners must now face either Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or Barcelona in knock-out stages
Swedish stars ask fans for £195 pledges on crowd-funding website
voicesJust when you thought you could find a man, get married, and have a baby by the age of 35... it turns out you’re too late, says Grace Dent
musicAs Mariah Carey and Noddy Holder rake in the royalties from their classics, why there hasn't been a decent festive hit for 20 years?
theatreAuthor Daniel Rosenthal recalls the mishaps that almost brought the curtain down on the likes of John Gielgud and Diana Rigg
lifeAs the Royal Mail plans to phase out deliveries on two wheels, it's no wonder posties are in a spin
musicThe 21-year-old beat Ella Eyre and Chlöe Howl to win the honour
lifeFull of the joys and want to help your fellow man? December isn't the time to do it
techLuke Blackall reports on precision engineered prams and babygros that monitor your child 24-7
- 1 Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
- 2 John McAfee's $100 'anti-NSA' device: 'this is coming and cannot be stopped'
- 3 French café starts charging extra to rude customers
- 4 Is Facebook making us forget? Study shows that taking pictures ruin memories
- 5 Australia incest case: Filthy and severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding
Nelson Mandela memorial: ‘Bogus’ interpreter made mockery of Barack Obama’s tribute in Soweto
David Cameron explains selfie with Obama and Helle Thorning-Schmidt at Mandela Memorial
French café starts charging extra to rude customers
Krokodil in Mexico? Teenager hospitalised after 'injecting drug into her genitals'
Australia incest case: Filthy and severely deformed children found in remote farming community after generations of inbreeding