Wales

Aamir Siddiqi: 'Heartbeat' of our family says sister

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Media captionUmbareen Siddiqi, sister (centre): "Aamir was the heartbeat of our family"

Murdered student Aamir Siddiqi was the "heartbeat" of his family, the 17-year-old's sister has said.

Umbareen Siddiqi paid tribute to her brother outside Swansea Crown Court after two men were found guilty of his murder.

Jason Richards and Ben Hope stabbed Aamir to death at his Cardiff home by mistake in a bungled contract killing.

Miss Siddiqi also thanked the "bravery and courage" of strangers for their support.

Richards and Hope were also found guilty of attempting to murder Aamir's parents as they tried to save him from the frenzied attack.

The trial heard how they were hired by a businessman to kill a man he blamed for the collapse of a property deal, but bungled the hit by targeting the wrong house.

Miss Siddiqi said: "Aamir was a beautiful person with a bright future. If he was still with us he would be looking forward to turning 21 this year and completing his law degree.

"He was the heartbeat of our family but his warmth, love, affection and humour touched many, many people."

She thanked South Wales Police and the Crown Prosecution Service for their "tireless effort" in this case and the "wonderful ladies" of Victim Support.

Miss Siddiqi said: "We would also like to thank the wider community in Cardiff for the wonderful tributes paid to Aamir.

"We will always appreciate the love and the support of our family and friends for being there throughout this time.

"We thank those strangers who, in the immediate aftermath of the murder, showed bravery and courage in their attempts to help Aamir and my parents.

"Though we may never meet you, we will forever be grateful.

"We are pleased today that justice has finally been done and we can finally start to deal with the reality of losing Aamir."

Bungling hitmen Richards, 38, and Hope, 39, of Cardiff, murdered Aamir in front of his parents after calling at the wrong address.

The killers, who will be sentenced next Friday, had been told to murder a different man on a neighbouring street.

'Devastated'

Det Supt Paul Hurley of South Wales Police said after the verdicts: "Aamir Siddiqi was a talented and gifted young man who had an extremely bright future ahead of him.

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Media captionDet Supt Paul Hurley and Catrin Evans of the CPS pay tribute to the Siddiqis

"Aamir was loved and respected by all who are fortunate to have known him and will be sorely missed by his family.

"Despite this tragic loss, Aamir's family and extended family have been extremely courageous, dignified and respectful throughout this ordeal, and for that South Wales Police have been extremely grateful.

"I would like to exend my thanks to the communities of Cardiff for their support throughout this investigation and to the successful conclusion of this trial.

"Our thoughts today are with the family of Aamir Siddiqi and I'm hoping that this guilty verdict will assist them in their future."

Catrin Evans, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said CCTV and forensic evidence played a large part in bringing about the successful prosecution.

She said: "Aamir's life was cruelly taken from him in a brutal knife attack committed by Jason Richards and Ben Hope. At the same time, they inflicted very serious injury on Aamir's parents as they tried to protect him.

"The prosecution team has worked very hard on this lengthy and very complex case, founded on an exemplary investigation by South Wales Police.

"The city of Cardiff has extensive CCTV coverage and I have no doubt that CCTV evidence, together with telephony and forensic evidence, has been a major factor in this successful prosecution.

"Whilst Aamir's assailants have been brought to justice, we are acutely aware that nothing can make up for the loss suffered by those close to Aamir.

"They have shown, as a family, remarkable dignity and fortitude throughout a lengthy criminal justice process, and our thoughts remain with them."

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