Three guilty of UK revenge attack on war criminal

By Alistair Keely,Pa
Friday 18 February 2011 17:33

Three murderers were today found guilty of carrying out a revenge attack on a Bosnian-Serb war criminal in a British prison.

Indrit Krasniqi, 23, Iliyas Khalid, 24, and Quam Ogumbiyi, 29, entered former general Radislav Krstic's cell at top security Wakefield Prison and slashed him with knives or blades in revenge for his role in the killing of more than 8,000 Muslim men and boys at Srebrenica.

The Muslim defendants, who are serving life sentences for murder, were cleared of attempted murder by a jury at Leeds Crown Court but convicted of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The judge, Mr Justice Henriques, told the jury the three men will be sentenced on Monday.

The verdicts were returned after almost 12 hours of deliberation.

The jury was told all three defendants were convicted murderers serving life sentences but not the details of their previous crimes.

Krasniqi, an Albanian national, is serving a life sentence of at least 23 years for the 2005 kidnap and murder of 16-year-old Mary-Ann Leneghan in Reading, Berkshire, and the attempted murder of her friend.

Miss Leneghan and her friend were abducted, bundled into a car and driven to a hotel room where they were drugged, raped and tortured with cigarettes, knives, a metal bar and boiling water.

They were then driven to a park to be executed.

Khalid was jailed for life in 2008 and told he must serve a minimum of 30 years in prison for the murder of 23-year-old Stacey Westbury.

He was jailed under his previous name - Christopher Braithwaite - for sexually assaulting and killing Miss Westbury whose body was found at her home in Fulham, west London, in August 2007.

The Old Bailey heard how she was alone with her 10-month-old son in his cot when Braithwaite attacked her.

The court was told how the attack happened eight days after he was released on bail over separate rape allegations.

Ogumbiyi is serving a life sentence for stabbing a man to death with a knife on the doorstep of a flat in Haringey, north London, in 2003.

His minimum tariff was set at 14 years.

The three men were convicted following a two week trial. They showed no emotion as the verdicts were returned.

Julian Goose QC, prosecuting, told the jury of seven women and five men the former soldier suffered a number of injuries on May 7, last year, including one 12cm slash across his neck.

Mr Goose said: "The cut was deep and long.

"It was deliberately aimed to cut vital vessels in the neck so as to kill him."

He told the jury: "The motive for the attempt to murder him was as a punishment or revenge.

"This was, we say as the prosecution, a planned and determined attack in which the three defendants intended to kill Radislav Krstic.

"The three defendants are practising Muslims."

Mr Goose told the jury: "He (Krstic) is a Bosnian Serb national who was serving a 35-year sentence for his involvement as a General-Major in the Bosnian Serb Army which killed many Bosnian Muslim men in Srebrenica in 1995."

He went on: "Mr Krstic's background was known to others within Wakefield Prison, including many of the prisoners."

Krstic, who has a false lower right leg, took to the witness box with four prisoner officers sitting behind him.

He spoke using an interpreter.

Krstic told the court how he thought he was going to die when he was attacked.

Through the interpreter, he said: "They looked at me with a scary look.

"I truly understood why they came. They came to kill me."