Aamir Siddiqi: 'Normal lazy Sunday' turned to tragedy
- 1 February 2013
- From the section Wales
It was a "normal lazy Sunday morning" that ended in the brutal and senseless murder of a promising Cardiff teenager.
And it was all down to the astonishing incompetence of two hitmen who attacked the wrong victim for just £1,000 each.
Aamir Siddiqi innocently answered his door expecting to see his local imam for a Koran lesson. Instead he was confronted by two balaclava-clad knifemen who pushed their way in and stabbed him to death.
The attackers, Ben Hope and Jason Richards, wielded daggers over their heads and howled as they set upon helpless Aamir.
He was the wrong target in the wrong house.
His sister Miriam has described 11 April, 2010, as "a normal lazy Sunday morning" at the family home in the city's Roath suburb. She and her husband, who had stayed over the previous night, had not long left to pick up a takeaway for Aamir.
The 17-year-old was revising upstairs at home in Ninian Road when the doorbell rang. The bright, ambitious A-level student wanted to become a lawyer and was hoping to read law at Cardiff University after sitting his exams that coming summer.
Aamir was expecting his Koran teacher that afternoon and called to his parents Iqbal and Parveen Ahmad that he would answer the door.
But instead of the imam come to teach religious texts, there stood Richards and Hope, masked and fuelled up on heroin.
They murdered Aamir before he had the chance to say a word.
After realising in those first awful seconds that it was not a joke or an attempted robbery, his parents leapt to his defence.
Mr Ahmad said during Hope and Richards' trial that he used all his strength to try to push one attacker away from Aamir but he was not strong enough. He was slashed twice and left bleeding.
The other attacker chased Aamir into the dining room. Mrs Ahmad jumped onto his back and grabbed his jacket but she was also cut with the knife.
Throughout the attack, the pair were howling and making a "terrifying noise", likened to martial arts practitioners trying to scare an opponent.
As they fled, Mrs Ahmad tried to call 999 but had a problem with the phone. She ran into the street and begged for help from passers-by. They called the emergency services, who arrived and tried to save Aamir's life, but to no avail.
The teenager, loved and cherished by all who knew him, was pronounced dead in hospital shortly after.
His family could make no sense of the dreadful events that had shattered their lives within seconds. They had no enemies; Aamir had no enemies. Who would want to kill him?
The awful truth was no-one did. In an act described by the prosecution as one of "staggering incompetence", the killers, hired by a businessman in an act of revenge over a property deal that turned sour, had gone to the wrong house and stabbed the wrong man.
Richards and Hope's intended target lived in nearby Shirley Road, in a similar-looking house just 70 yards (64m) from where Aamir lived with his family.
The hapless pair had been paid just £1,000 each to murder a stranger in cold blood, money which Hope had spent within 24 hours on a laptop and trainers.
The bungled crime robbed a mother, father, three sisters and a community of friends of a young, gifted man who was "kind, humorous, fun-loving and caring".
As Aamir's mother said in the moments after his death: "Nothing is valuable now."
Just across his home, a bench now stands in Roath Park where Aamir spent many happy hours playing football with friends.
There is no hint at the tragedy that struck so suddenly that fated day.
The inscription simply reads: "In the memory of Aamir Siddiqi, June 1992 - April 2010. May God enter you in paradise."