Two remanded on Birmingham riot murder charge

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The Independent Online

A 26-year-old man and a teenager were remanded in custody today after appearing in court charged with the murders of three men who were struck by a car during last week's riots.

Haroon Jahan, 21, and brothers Shazad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31, suffered fatal injuries when they were hit by the car in the early hours of Wednesday while trying to protect shops in Winson Green, Birmingham, from looters. They were all pronounced dead in hospital.

During a brief hearing at Birmingham Magistrates' Court today, Joshua Donald, 26, from Kelsall Croft, Ladywood, appeared before magistrates charged with three counts of murder.

Donald and a 17-year-old male from Winson Green, who cannot be named because of his age, were arrested on Thursday and were charged late last night after police were granted extra time by Solihull Magistrates' Court to question them.

Donald, who appeared in court sporting a beard, wearing dark jeans and a black hooded top, spoke only to confirm his name, age and address.

In the hearing, which lasted less than five minutes, the court clerk read charges to him, saying: "It is said that on August 10 you murdered Shazad Ali, it is also said you murdered Haroon Jahan and you also murdered Abdul Musavir."

District Judge Michael Wheeler told the defendant his case could not be dealt with at magistrates' court and he was to be remanded in custody to appear at Birmingham Crown Court tomorrow.

In a separate hearing shortly afterwards, the 17-year-old defendant was brought into court.

Wearing a dark grey sweatshirt and grey trousers, the same three murder charges were put to him as were put to Donald.

Asked by the court clerk if he understood the charges, the youth did not respond and was asked the same question again, to which he simply nodded his head.

He was also told his case could not be dealt with in the magistrates court and he was remanded in custody to appear at the crown court tomorrow.

A spokeswoman for West Midlands Police last night confirmed that a 16-year-old boy arrested on suspicion on murder had been bailed pending further inquiries, and a 32-year-old man who was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of murder was also bailed.

Two further men, aged 23 and 27, who were arrested late last night, remain in police custody, she said.

After the deaths of the three men, it emerged that Haroon's father, Tariq, attempted to revive his son after hearing the car speed away from the scene in Dudley Road.

At a press conference yesterday Mr Jahan, 46, said he had been "humbled" by the support he had received from his community and further afield.

"I would like to thank the community, especially the young people, for listening to what I have to say and staying calm. Thank you very much to the young generation."

Also speaking at the press conference, the brothers' uncle, Abdullah Khan, 58, said: "This was not about race, this was not about religion - this was about a pure criminal act."

Mr Khan told reporters his nephews were "hard-working young men" who gave their lives trying to protect their community.

He added: "We have lost two sons, which has left their family in complete shock and devastation.

"What we want is justice for our family."

In a move to process the large volumes of defendants charged in connection with the riots, the magistrates' court sat this morning although it is traditionally closed on a Sunday.

Like many other courts throughout the country, such as those in London and Manchester, Birmingham Magistrates' has been sitting during the day and throughout the night since the latter half of last week.