THE family of an elderly man who died after he was assaulted as he made his way to morning prayers have spoken of their heartbreak as police renew their appeal for witnesses to the attack.
Mushin Ahmed, 81, died 11 days after the attack in Rotherham on August 10. It is being treated as a hate crime.
Two men have appeared in court charged with the attack, and police have questioned two others in connection with the incident.
Mr Ahmed was seriously assaulted in an area just off Fitzwilliam Road in the early hours of Monday 10 August. He was taken to Rotherham General Hospital but sadly died on August 21.
A post-mortem examination concluded that Mr Ahmed died as a result of the injuries sustained during the assault, but further forensic tests are ongoing.
In a statement released through South Yorkshire Police today, Mr Ahmed’s family said: “The family is heartbroken to have lost such a loving husband, caring father and grandfather, who was also a gentle and charitable man. Mushin was an affable person who smiled and spoke to everyone. Well known throughout the town, he worked hard all his life, held high values and brought his family up with the same moral standards.
“Thank you to everyone for your prayers, support and offers of help. The expressions of grief and sadness as well as the flowers are greatly appreciated. Thank you to the Police and staff of Rotherham District General Hospital who worked tirelessly on his behalf.”
Two men have been charged in connection with the assault.
Damien Hunt, 29, of Doncaster Road, Rotherham, and Kieran John Rice, 21, of Oakes Meadow, Rotherham, appeared at Rotherham Magistrates’ Court on Friday August 14 charged with section 18 assault with intent. Both men were remanded in custody to appear before Sheffield Crown Court on Friday August 28.
Two further men were arrested and bailed in connection with the investigation last week – a 29-year-old man from Dalton and a 24-year-old man from Thrybergh. They remain on bail while detectives continue their enquiries.
Detective Chief Inspector Zaf Ali, who is overseeing the investigation, said: “Mr Ahmed was dressed in traditional clothing on his way to the mosque when he was attacked, which is one possible motive for the attack upon him.
“However, the investigation is still at an early stage. While we keep an open mind as to the full motive at this time, we are treating this as a hate crime and will ensure that all possible lines of enquiry are followed. This is also in line with national crime recording standards.
“Our officers continue to support Mr Ahmed’s family at this very difficult time.
“I would like to reiterate that this is an ongoing investigation, with legal proceedings now active against two individuals, so there is a risk that any speculation or comments of this nature could prejudice our continued enquiries.
“We will not jeopardise our investigation by commenting further on the detail of this matter other than to reassure all sections the local community of our continued support.”
Det Chief Insp Ali appealed for anyone who could help track Mr Ahemd’s movements prior to the attack to get in touch.
“Were you in the area of Doncaster Road area close to the junction of Mowbray Street or Fitzwilliam Road, which is at the Herringthorpe end of Rotherham, in the early hours of Monday 10 August? Did you see a group of males hanging around the area, did you drive or walk past them?,” he said.
“If anyone has any information relating to the attack on Mr Ahmed, no matter how trivial it may seem to you, please contact us.”
Contact police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111, quoting incident number 147 of 10 August 2015.