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Killer in court outburst at police

ONE OF three youths convicted of the racist murder of an Afghan refugee had to be forcibly restrained yesterday after he launched himself at police from the Old Bailey dock, writes Heather Mills.

Barry Hannon, 17, screaming 'you bastards', was wrestled to the floor and carried back to the dock by six prison officers, where moments later he, his brother, Paul Hannon, 18, and a friend, Joseph Curtin, 17, were all sentenced to life.

The defendants, from south-east London, had all pleaded not guilty. The court had heard they were among a gang, wielding iron bars and lumps of wood and shouting racist abuse, who kicked and battered Ruhullah Aramesh just feet from his home in south London.

Mr Aramesh, 24, a linguist and student, who had fled to England from war-torn Afghanistan, never regained consciousness and died two days later from brain damage.

Three other defendants, Jamie Ware, 18, Richard Turner, 19, and a 17-year-old who cannot be named, left the dock crying after being cleared of manslaughter and murder. But the 17-year-old was convicted of indecent assault on a friend of Mr Aramesh in an earlier incident leading to the attack. The jury heard that only an hour before the fatal beating, Barry Hannon and Curtin were among a group who had launched an unprovoked attack on an Asian family - one of them Gampatt Maragh, 65, who was struck with a bottle.

After the case, yesterday, Mr Aramesh's cousin, Parissa Shah, said: 'The irony is that he had fought the Russians while we lived in Kabul and had come to this country as a political refugee to find sanctuary. Our family thought of Britain as a safe place, a quiet, peaceful land.'