Aamir Siddiqi: Shop owner helped police breakthrough

Zaid Akbar Zaid Akbar recognised the descriptions of the two suspects from two men his mother had served

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A shopkeeper has spoken of how he recognised Aamir Siddiqi's killers, as two men who had called into his grocery shop just an hour before the crime.

Zaid Akbar's call marked a breakthrough in the police investigation, two days after the 17-year-old was killed at his Cardiff home.

Two men have been convicted at Swansea Crown Court of stabbing to death the promising A-level student in an incompetent contract killing in April 2010.

Ben Hope and Jason Richards, wearing balaclavas and high on heroin, had been instructed to kill a different man who lived on a neighbouring street in Roath.

Following the shocking death of Aamir, shop owner Mr Akbar was reading the local paper about the horrifying events.

As he read out the descriptions of the police's two suspects, they matched two men his mother had served in their shop, T&A Stores in Miskin Street in Cathays.

Police at the shop in Cathays Police at the shop in Cathays

The store is a mile away from Aamir's home and the two men had called in around midday on Sunday - just over an hour before Aamir was killed.

"I asked her what did they buy and she said they asked for tape and gloves, which made me raise a few concerns," Mr Akbar told BBC Wales.

"So I decided to wind back the CCTV and the description written in the South Wales Echo of what the police were looking for, what the people were wearing, matched the description we had of the two gentlemen who had been in the shop on Sunday morning."

Within three days, Hope and Richards were arrested.

At their trial, the CCTV images of the shop visit were shown to the jury.

It showed two men entering the store, one speaking to the shopkeeper, then gesturing with his hands in a rolling motion and buying a roll of tape.

Richards, 38, had claimed he had gone to the shop to buy brown tape for bagging up drugs which he would secrete on his person.

He said he also wanted Marigold-type gloves to stop his fingerprints getting on the bags of drugs.

Police used CCTV evidence to track the movements of Richards and Hope following their fatal attack on innocent teenager, Aamir.

Within three hours of stabbing Aamir to death, Hope had used the money received for the bungled hit to buy new trainers, and he spent around £700 on a laptop - which he sold to a pawnbroker within two days.

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