Manchester

Jalal Uddin: Imam murder suspect denies knowledge of killing

Jalal Uddin Image copyright Greater Manchester Police
Image caption Jalal Uddin was found with a serious head injury in a children's play area and later died in hospital

A man accused of murdering an imam told a court he did not suspect a known sympathiser of the so-called Islamic State (IS) had bludgeoned him to death.

Mohammed Hussain Syeedy, 21, who denies murdering Jalal Uddin, 71, in Rochdale in February, is accused of acting as a getaway driver for Mohammed Kadir, 24,

Three days after the killing, Mr Kadir, of Oldham, fled abroad.

Manchester Crown Court heard Mr Syeedy did not think Mr Kadir was violent and had never expressed IS views to him.

The prosecution alleges the pair developed a hatred of the victim after discovering he practised Ruqya healing.

Mr Syeedy, of Ramsay Street, Rochdale, admitted he and Mr Kadir had been following the Bangladeshi national on the night of his death, but he claimed his co-accused was trying to dupe Mr Uddin into giving him a taweez book - considered "black magic" and punishable by death by IS.

The former Manchester United steward said Mr Kadir returned to the car about 90 seconds after he dropped him off, "acting normal" and said he had not approached the imam because two men were nearby.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Bangladeshi national Jalal Uddin suffered injuries to his head and face in the attack in South Street

Cross-examining, Paul Greaney QC asked Mr Syeedy if it had occurred to him that Mr Kadir had something to do with this.

He replied: "No, not at all. I have not known Kadir to be violent. I knew he had those Isis views but all the time I knew him he never expressed any views to me personally."

He said the pair met the following day so he could persuade him to help police with enquiries after hearing rumours in the community of Mr Uddin's death.

But Mr Greaney said: "You were discussing how to get away with the murder the two of you had carried out."

Mr Syeedy said: "Of course not...my head would have fallen off. I have never been in trouble before, I have never laid a finger on anyone."

The trial continues.

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