South East Wales

Aamir Siddiqi: Defence claims 'third man' involved

Jason Richards
Image caption Jason Richards denies being one of two men who burst into Aamir Siddiqi's home and killed him

The jury in the Aamir Siddiqi murder trial has been told that a third person must have been involved in the killing.

The suggestion was put by John Charles Rees QC, who is defending 38-year-old Jason Richards at Swansea Crown Court.

Mr Richards and his co-defendant Ben Hope, 39, both deny murdering the 17-year-old and attempting to murder his parents at their Cardiff home.

However, prosecutor Patrick Harrington QC, has described the defendants' accounts as "nonsense".

Delivering his closing speech as the trial reached a fourth month, Mr Harrington said separate strands of the prosecution case, such as CCTV footage and telephone records, when added together "became more compelling" - including information about a Volvo car.

"When we consider the evidence relating to it, it pretty much tells the whole story," said Mr Harrington, as he addressed the jury on Wednesday.

The court heard that the car had Mr Richards' fingerprint on the driver's seatbelt clip, and Mr Hope's DNA on the passenger side door handle. In the front footwells of the car, the court heard, was Aamir Siddiqi's blood.

Both men had admitted being in the car but not at the time relevant to the murder.

But Mr Harrington also pointed to evidence about a clothing top found in a bag on the Taff Trail embankment 17 days after the fatal attack at the student's home in Roath in April 2010.

The court heard the item of clothing belonged to Mr Richards and that, as well as his DNA, it also had Aamir Siddiqi's blood DNA on it.

The court heard that the prosecution case is that the defendants were "a pair of heroin addicts" who had set out to commit a pre-planned killing and got the wrong person with "staggering incompetence".

But beginning his closing speech on behalf of Mr Richards, defence barrister Mr Rees told the jury that there were 16 fingerprints and DNA in the Volvo vehicle which had not been identified.

He added that there was DNA from an unidentified person on the cuffs and collar of the Drunk Punk top "precisely where we would expect it to be found if someone else had worn it".

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Mr Rees told the court: "There must have been a third man and there was a third man."

Image caption Aamir Siddiqi was stabbed in the hallway of his family home in Roath

He pointed out that Richards's phone was at his home in North Road at the time when the attack on Mr Siddiqi took place in Ninian Road.

"If he is telling the truth that is precisely what we would find, his phone is at North Road," said Mr Rees.

The barrister told the jury: "You have to come to your decision objectively."

He said Mr Siddiqi's life had been "wickedly cut short" and that no-one in the case could have "anything other than admiration for the dignified and humbling way" in which his parents had conducted themselves.

However, he told the jury that, when they consider their verdicts, they must put that out of their minds.

"It is often said emotion is the enemy of justice and it is, I am sure you understand that," said Mr Rees.

He told the jury that Richards, who was a drug dealer and addict, was not the sort of person "likely to impress" them.

Mr Rees added that Richards could not be convicted "because of his character or his lifestyle".

"Evaluate the evidence objectively," he told the court.

The trial continues.

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