Aamir Siddiqi: Hitman's previous victim's horror at student murder

An artist's sketch of Jason Richards (l) and Ben Hope [r] in court, with a prison officer in between
Image caption An artist's sketch of Jason Richards (l) and Ben Hope [r] in court, with a prison officer in between

A previous victim of one of the two hitmen convicted of the murder of a Cardiff student in a case of mistaken identity has spoken of his horror.

Jason Richards, 38, and Ben Hope, 39, stabbed Aamir Siddiqi, 17, to death in front of his parents in Roath, Cardiff.

They attacked him in April 2010 after being contracted to kill someone who lived in a neighbouring street.

Richards' earlier victim said he had nearly killed him in 1996.

He was an off-duty police officer when Richards attacked him and a colleague in Cardiff city centre, fracturing his skull as his head hit the kerb and rendering him unconscious.

'Totally inadequate'

The man's colleague, punched 26 times, was also severely injured. But it was captured on CCTV and and Richards was sentenced to 27 months for grievous bodily harm.

His victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, told BBC Wales he felt the jail term handed down to Richards for the crime against him was "totally inadequate".

"I felt this man nearly killed me. His motives were 'you're a police officer, cop a load of this'. And it nearly killed me, ruined my family's life almost," he said.

He said the incident 17 years ago still haunts him and he was horrified, but not surprised, to learn Richards had murdered Aamir Siddiqi.

Drug addicts

And he said his thoughts go out to the student's family.

"I just hope that Aamir's family learn of how much myself and my family have been and still are thinking about them and wish them all the best as they try and repair their lives," he said.

Richards, a drug dealer who sold to addicts on the streets of Cardiff, and his accomplice Hope are to be sentenced next Friday for killing Aamir Siddiqi.

Image caption Richards' previous victim wished Aamir Siddiqi's parents luck as they try to rebuild their lives

They were also found guilty by the jury at Swansea Crown Court of the attempted murder of his parents Iqbal and Parveen Ahmad who had fought desperately to try to save their only son.

The promising A level student, who had hoped to study law at university, was stabbed to death when he opened the front door of the family home in Ninian Road, believing his local imam had arrived to give him a Koran lesson.

Instead he found the pair, who had been hired by an unnamed businessman to kill for £1,000 each after a property deal soured.

Hope and Richards , high on heroin, wielded daggers over their heads and howled as they set upon the helpless student.

The attack was over in seconds.

The pair killed Aamir in an act of what the prosecution later called an act of "staggering incompetence". Their intended victim, a businessman father-of-four, had lived round the corner just yards from the student's home.

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Media captionRichards' victim told Mark Hutchings he remains traumatised by his brutal assault

A police officer who was called to the murder scene described it as the worst he had ever seen.

After Friday's verdict, Aamir's family spoke outside the court, thanking the police and everyone who had helped them.

Intensified thoughts

Aamir's sister Umbareen said: "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."

Aamir's mother Parveen Ahmad later said: "The people who committed this crime cannot understand such a loss."

And the man who was attacked by Richards in 1996 said he is still haunted.

"Every day I can honestly say I think about it, the times I wish, you beat yourself up, by saying you know 'If only I hadn't been in that location at that exact time and date, a couple of seconds earlier or later and I could have avoided this so absolutely'.

"The Aamir case has obviously intensified those thoughts, it naturally takes me back."

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