Two 30-year-old Rotherham men have been jailed, one of them receiving a life sentence, for causing the death of an 81-year-old man in Rotherham last year.
On Wednesday 24 February, a jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict against Dale Jones (on the left), of East Bawtry Road, Rotherham, for murder.
Following further deliberations, the jury found Damien Hunt (on the right), of Doncaster Road, Rotherham, guilty of manslaughter by majority verdict today (Monday 29 February).
Jones was jailed for life, to serve a minimum of 32 years, and Hunt was jailed for 14 years.
The jury heard how Mr Ahmed was walking from his home address to morning prayers at the local mosque in the early hours of Monday 10 August, when he was attacked by two men in the East Dene area of Rotherham.
A member of the public found Mr Ahmed at around 5.25am and immediately flagged down a passing police car. Mr Ahmed was barely conscious and badly beaten as he had lain outside for a number of hours.
He was rushed to hospital where he remained in a critical condition until he sadly died on Friday 21 August.
Detective Chief Inspector Victoria Short, the Senior Investigating Officer for this case, said: “This brutal and unprovoked assault sent shockwaves through the local community, where Mr Ahmed was well-liked and highly regarded.
“His family and friends have been left absolutely devastated by his death yet they have conducted themselves admirably and with tremendous strength throughout our inquiry, which should be commended.
“Mr Ahmed suffered horrific injuries at the hands of Jones and Hunt. Jones in his anger stamped on Mr Ahmed’s head so hard that we were able to recover a shoe print from his skin – this extreme violence is nothing short of sickening and highlights just how dangerous these individuals are.
“The pair refused to take responsibility for their crime, putting Mr Ahmed’s family through the further distress of a court trial where they had to hear in detail what happened to their loved one. This family have demonstrated exceptional strength and dignity while listening to shocking evidence.
“Hunt and Jones have never given an explanation for their own vicious actions that evening, but the court heard how Mr Ahmed was assaulted because of the colour of his skin, a fact that is as disturbing as it is despicable.
“To cause harm to another human being because of their race, ethnicity, or religious belief is simply beyond reproach, I will never understand how anybody can treat another person in such a callous and inhumane manner.”
As part of the investigation, forensic specialists were sent to examine the scene where Mr Ahmed had been assaulted.
A sample of DNA was recovered, which was matched to Damien Hunt. In addition, CCTV footage recovered from the local community showed a group of men in the area where the attack took place, with Jones and Hunt among them.
DCI Short continued: “While a successful conviction can never bring back their loved one, I hope Mr Ahmed’s family and friends find some closure as a result of today’s hearing.
“Officers and staff have worked tirelessly on this investigation to bring it before the courts, as well as working closely with the local community and Mr Ahmed’s family in Rotherham to provide support and reassurance during a very difficult period.
“I would therefore like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved for their professionalism and dedication.”