South East Wales

Aamir Siddiqi murder: 'Intended victim' was beaten up

Aamir Siddiqi
Image caption Aamir Siddiqi was stabbed at his home in Cardiff in April last year

A man described as the intended victim of two alleged hitmen accused of murdering a teenage boy has claimed he was beaten up months earlier.

It is claimed Mohammed Tanhai was targeted by an alleged criminal over an unpaid £50,000 debt.

Contract killers sent after him later went to the wrong address and stabbed Aamir Siddiqi, 17, it is claimed.

At Cardiff Crown Court Ben Hope, 38, and Jason Richards, 37, deny murder and attempted murder. The trial continues.

The jury has been told that the two defendants had been paid £1,000 each in "blood money" to carry out a hit on Mr Tanhai, who lived in a street behind the Siddiqi family.

The prosecution claim alleged criminal Mohammed Ali Ege, 32, had paid for the killing because of a dispute with Mr Tanhai over the deposit on a house.

Cash deposit

Mr Tanhai told the jury that he got to know Mohammed Ali Ege when he put his home in Fairoak Road, Cardiff, up for sale in 2006.

The house went on the market and Mr Tanhai moved across the road to Shirley Road. He told the court that he was given an initial £10,000 cash deposit for the property by Mr Ege and asked for further arrangements to go through a solicitor.

Mr Tanhai said that after two years and receiving £50,000 from Mr Ege, he began to have doubts about the deal. He realised he was not "dealing with legitimate people".

When he refused to take the deal any further, Mr Tanhai said Mr Ege demanded his money back and began a campaign of intimidation.

Mr Tanhai said that he was unable to pay the money back in one go and tried to offer Mr Ege a deal where he could keep the profit on renting out the house in Fairoak Road.

Pepper spray

But on 17 November 2009 Mr Tanhai said he was confronted on his doorstep by Mr Ege and a masked man.

""He [Mr Ege] called around my house and assaulted me," said Mr Tanhai. "He had another man with him who had a mask on his face and used pepper spray on me.

Image caption Police outside the home of Aamir Siddiqi

"I was punched in my face and fell to the floor - this was in front of my wife and kids," he continued.

"They were kicking me and punching me. My wife tried to intervene but was too frightened." Mr Tanhai said he later went to the police and told them what had happened.

Previously, Mr Tanhai said he had only given officers limited information and had not named Mr Ege or given details about the property deal because he was afraid for his safety.

He said he was able to identify Mr Ege as his attacker, but could not identify the other man.

Patrick Harrington QC, prosecuting, said it was not suggested that the defendants in the trial had attacked Mr Tanhai.

The prosecution claim that the defendants were high on drugs when they were sent to kill Mr Tanhai in April 2010 and went to the wrong address.

Instead of calling at Mr Tanhai's house in Shirley Road they turned up at the home of the Siddiqi family in the next street. Aamir, who was waiting for his Koran teacher, opened the door and was stabbed to death.

Earlier this month, South Wales Police said Mr Ege, from Riverside, Cardiff, was arrested in India on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder.

A police statement said officers were liaising with Indian authorities in order to try and arrange his extradition.

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