Asians jailed over 'racist' knife killing

Three Asian men have been found guilty of stabbing a white teenager to death in what police believe was a race attack.

Ross Parker, 17, was beaten and stabbed through the throat with a foot-long hunting knife while walking home in the early hours of the morning.

Shaied Nazir, 22, Ahmed Ali Awan, 22, and Sarfraz Ali, 25, all of Peterborough, denied the charges but were yesterday found guilty of murder by the eight-man, four-woman jury at Northampton Crown Court.

The murder was just days after the September 11 terrorist attacks at a time of racial tension in Peterborough.

Det Chief Insp Dick Harrison said he believed the killing of the teenager, of Bozeat Way, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, was racially motivated, although it was not put to the jury.

Traces of Mr Parker's blood and DNA were found on the clothes of shift worker Nazir, of Cromwell Road, Peterborough, who admitted he was present during the attack but denied he had used the knife.

Managing director of a labour contracting firm Awan, of Gladstone Street, and unemployed Ali, of Harris Street, had both denied they were at the scene.

The gang went out drinking at the Liquid Night Club in New Street before they returned to a garage at the rear of Nazir's house and continued drinking and smoked cannabis.

Mr Harrison said: "It is our guess that they got back to the shed, picked up their weapons and went out looking for a victim.

"There is no suggestion that Ross knew any of them. No suggestion it was linked to September 11.

"From the evidence we have gathered, we think these three people were going out looking for someone who was not from their area.

"We think it was a racially motivated attack although there is no evidence of any racial language being used."

The gang ambushed Ross and girlfriend Nicky Toms, who has since married and is now named Foot, as they walked along a cycle path shortly after 1.15am.

Nazir sprayed CS gas in the face of the teenager. Blinded and disorientated, Ross was then punched and hit with a panel beater's hammer before he was stabbed in the chest and neck.

As the murderers left, one was heard to say words to the effect of "cherish the blood".

Sentencing Nazir and Ali to 16 years imprisonment before parole can be considered, Sir Edwin Jowett, sitting as a Deputy High Court Judge, said: "Make no mistake, this was a very grave case of murder.

"You three put your heads together with the purpose of arming yourselves and of attacking an innocent man you might find by chance simply because he was of a different race to yourselves.

"A racist killing must be one of the gravest kinds of killing."

Mr Justice Jowett added that he believed Awan to have been the ringleader and sentenced him to 18 years in prison before parole could be considered.

A fourth man, Ziaraff Mahrad, 21, was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter.