London

'Happy slapping' youths detained for grandfather death

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Media captionTwo boys fatally beat a pensioner outside a south London mosque

Two teenage members of a "happy slapping" gang who fatally beat a retired care worker in front of his young granddaughter in south London have been detained.

Ekram Haque, 67, was attacked in August 2009 in Tooting as he left a mosque. He died from his injuries a week later.

Leon Elcock, 16, and Hamza Lyzai, 15, had pleaded guilty to manslaughter in June at the Old Bailey.

Elcock was detained for four-and-a half years and Lyzai for three-and-a-half.

Mr Haque hit his head after being struck to the ground, suffering irreparable brain damage.

His death was the culmination of a series of "happy slapping" incidents - assaults which are recorded on mobile phones.

Image caption Ekram Haque was with his three-year-old granddaughter when he was attacked

The footage showed youths running off and laughing afterwards.

The teenagers, who are both from Tooting, were told by Judge Martin Stephens: "As a result of your so-called bit of fun he [Mr Haque] was deprived of a full and contented life and his family of a devoted, inspiring and beloved father and grandfather."

The judge lifted restrictions on naming the pair as a warning to others "who may be tempted to indulge in such appalling behaviour".

The boys were charged with his murder, but guilty pleas to the lesser charges of manslaughter and assault causing actual bodily harm were accepted by prosecutors.

A third youth, aged 15, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was detained for six months after admitting, with Elcock, to actual bodily harm against a couple in their 70s.

Jasumati and Jushbhai Patel were punched and stamped on in their home after they asked the boys not to sit on their wall.

Elcock was on bail for the assault on the elderly couple at the time he took part in the killing of Mr Haque.

Image caption Elcock was on bail at time of the assault, which he carried out with Hamza Lyzai

All three teenagers also pleaded guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to two other men, Atta-ul Hassan Mir and Imdad Bukari, on the same day as the attack on Mr Haque, as they too left the mosque during the Islamic festival of Ramadan.

Both killers could be released on licence after serving half their sentences, minus nearly a year they have already been in custody, while the 15-year-old has effectively completed his sentence already.

The judge said his powers of sentence in relation to the assaults were "very limited" because of the defendants' ages.

Mr Haque's son Arfan, 35, said outside court: "I thought justice has not been served today. I have been really let down."

He had earlier told the court in a statement that his daughter had been traumatised by what had happened because she had had a special relationship with her grandfather.

During the investigation, officers found six videos of "happy slapping" incidents on mobile phones belonging to the gang, but the attacks the youths were charged over were not among them.

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Media captionVictim's son Arfan Haque: "My father is dead and it's just a disgrace"

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