Man jailed for murdering Hartlepool rival drug dealer

Image source, Family handout
Image caption,
Hamawand Ali Hussein was found dead in September 2019

A fourth member of a drugs gang which lured a man to a house and shot him through the head has been jailed for at least 32 years.

Eugert Merizaj was convicted of murdering Hamawand Ali Hussein in Hartlepool in September 2019.

Three other members of an organised crime group were jailed for his manslaughter last year.

Mr Hussein's partner, Jennifer Buller, has said his murder "crushed and devastated" her and his two sons.

"He was a happy, laid-back person and a brilliant father," she told the court previously.

"Whatever Hammo had become involved in, he did not deserve to die."

Image source, Cleveland Police
Image caption,
Eugert Merizaj was jailed for life

Teesside Crown Court heard Mr Hussein - known as Hammo - was killed with a sawn-off shotgun at point-blank range after arriving at a house in Charterhouse Street for what he thought was a meeting with other drug dealers.

Merizaj, 31, was finally brought to justice after being tracked down in Belgium and extradited for trial in the UK.

Jailing him for life, Mr Justice Lavender accepted Merizaj did not pull the trigger and was not in the house when the killing took place, but said he had been heavily involved in its planning and had bought weapons, including an axe.

The judge said three others who were in the house when Mr Hussein was shot have left the country and have yet to stand trial.

Outside court, Cleveland Police renewed an appeal for information about three suspects, thought to be Albanian, that they still want to speak to: Daniel Kadiu, 30, Armando Marku, 22, and Sajmir Dodoveci, 36.

Police believe that Mr Hussein, 30, had previously fought in Kurdistan against the group which calls itself Islamic State.

Following his death, Peshmerga commanders described Mr Hussein as a great warrior.

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