Aamir Siddiqi: Neighbour Mohammed Tanhai in doorstep attack
- 26 September 2012
- From the section Wales
A man who lived near a student stabbed to death in an alleged case of mistaken identity has told how he was subjected to a campaign of intimidation leading to an attack at his home over a debt.
Mohammed Tanhai told Swansea Crown Court he had faced harassment over a £50,000 house deal debt.
Aamir Siddiqi, 17, of Roath, Cardiff, died after a bungled contract killing at his family home, the jury has heard.
Jason Richards, 38, and Ben Hope, 39, deny murder and attempted murder.
The jury has previously heard that Mr Richards and Mr Hope were hired by a unnamed businessman - angry because a property deal had collapsed - to kill a man who lived in the Roath area of Cardiff.
His address, the court has been told, was close to Ninian Road, where Aamir was fatally stabbed when he answered the door believing his Koran teacher had called round.
The defendants - previously described by the prosecution as demonstrating "staggering incompetence" - were said to have gone to the wrong address.
On Wednesday Mr Tanhai told the court that in 2009 he was the owner of two Cardiff properties, with mortgages on each.
The court heard he moved in to one and put the other up for sale for £280,000.
Mr Tanhai said his financial position at the time was not good and that he was in mortgage arrears.
He told the jury his son had introduced him to a man to whom he agreed to sell the property.
"We were quite desperate to be able to sell the property to survive," Mr Tanhai told the court.
He said the prospective buyer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, insisted on paying him a £10,000 deposit, then further payments totalling £50,000 over about two years.
Mr Tanhai said that as a result of a delay in finalising the deal he wanted to withdraw from it and that this made the prospective buyer unhappy.
He said the prospective buyer came to his home with two other men and threatened him over completing the deal.
Mr Tanhai said that on another occasion in November 2009, the prospective buyer turned up at his home and punched him in front of his wife and children.
Mr Tanhai said a second man, also present, sprayed him in the face.
"They were beating me up quite severely in front of my children," said Mr Tanhai.
"The other man sprayed my face and I could not see anything, my eyes were burning badly," he added.
The court heard that Mr Tanhai was taken to hospital but discharged himself.
Mr Tanhai said he and his family went to stay in a safe house provided by the police for around five-and-a-half weeks from October to November 2010.
"They were concerned about our safety," said he said.
Later, the court heard evidence relating to CCTV footage of Mr Hope allegedly spending cash he had received for the crime.
Andrew Webb, the then manager of the Footlocker store in Queen Street, told the court how Mr Hope spent just over £100 on trainers, socks and a wallet from an envelope containing what he estimated at around £1,000 mainly in £20 notes.
A statement was read out in court from taxi driver Ali Salah, said to have driven Mr Hope to PC World.
"I remember that journey as it is unusual to have to wait while he went in the store," said Mr Salah.
A statement from Hadi Omer, an employee of PC World, said he served a man with a wad of cash who was in a hurry to buy a laptop.
The jury has previously been told that Aamir Siddiqi's killers pushed their way into the Siddiqi family home and attacked the teenager "indiscriminately", without seeing who their victim was.
The A level student's father Iqbal Ahmad told how he and his wife, Parveen, were injured while trying to fight off the attackers.
The jury has heard that the scene of the attack was the worst seen by the police officer who attended.
Mr Richards and Mr Hope deny murdering Aamir and also attempting to murder his parents.
The trial continues.