South East Wales

Aamir Siddiqi murder: Jason Richards blames co-accused

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Media captionAamir Siddiqi is believed to have been the victim of mistaken identity

A drug addict on trial for murdering a teenager in a bungled contract killing has blamed his co-accused for the brutal stabbing.

Jason Richards, 38, said he was at home when Aamir Siddiqi, 17, was attacked in Roath, Cardiff, in April 2010.

Mr Richards claimed Ben Hope, 39, burst into his home covered in blood and demanded a change of clothes minutes after Aamir was killed.

Both men, from Cardiff, deny murder at Swansea Crown Court.

The court has heard that balaclava-clad knifemen, allegedly high on drugs, carried out the £2,000 hit at the wrong address.

They pounced on Aamir as soon as he opened the door at the family home. He had been expecting to greet his imam who was due to arrive to give him a Koran study class.

Earlier in the trial, the jury heard how the teenager's frantic parents Iqbal and Parveen Siddiqi fought to save their son but were knifed in turn by the killers who were described as howling.

Mr Richards, giving evidence in his own defence on Thursday, said he had been at home at the time of the murder.

He claimed that Mr Hope burst into his Cardiff home covered in blood and demanded a change of clothes.

Image caption The prosecution claims Jason Richards and Ben Hope were hired killers

Mr Richards, asked to describe Mr Hope's behaviour, told the court: "He was not himself. Panicky, kind of.

"He asked me for a change of clothing. There was blood on Ben. On his jacket, on his chest, his stomach area. The front of him.

"I asked him what had happened and he replied the less I know the better."

Previously the court heard a Cardiff businessman, who cannot be named, allegedly paid the two men £1,000 each for the killing.

Mr Richards claimed the man in question was in fact his main supplier for heroin which is why he was associated with him.

As a favour to him he allowed a stranger, apparently from Sheffield, to stay at his home in North Road over the weekend coinciding with the killing.

Mr Richards claimed in court that street CCTV footage of two men arriving at his address, said to be himself and Mr Hope, was in fact the stranger and Hope.

Image caption It is claimed the defendants went to the wrong house in Roath, Cardiff

The jury was shown footage of two men coming and going from the address in a stolen Volvo car implicated in the killing.

Mr Richards claimed he saw and knew little of the man over the period but suggests it was he and Mr Hope who left in the Volvo car not long before the murder.

When Mr Hope arrived, allegedly with blood on his clothes, the unnamed stranger came in and immediately disappeared upstairs.

"I heard him rumbling around. He got his things together. I think he got his rucksack and took off. I never saw him again," he added.

Mr Richards said that he gave Mr Hope a change of clothing, providing him with a jacket, top and bottoms and a black bag.

Mr Hope and Mr Richards are on trial each charged with murder.

Both men are also each accused of two separate counts of attempted murder on the victims' parents.

They deny all charges.

The trial continues.

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