The Bradford Three

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Page last updated on Tuesday 12th March 2014 at 2015hrs

Shazad Hussain, who was 21 at the time and known locally as “Shuzzy”, was shot twice at close range through the window of his Honda Civic as he sat in the vehicle in an alleyway between Amberley Street and Gladstone Street in the Leeds Road area of Bradford early on September 25, 2004. The first shot shattered the driver’s window and injured Mr Hussain in the right arm. The second shot hit him in the chest, killing him.

His murder was one of a series of shootings in the Leeds Road area of Bradford that year and the Crown Prosecution Service later claimed it was in revenge for an earlier incident when shots were fired at two men, Mohammed Niaz Khan and Abdul Rehman, at a petrol station. Rehman was cleared of involvement in the murder at the subsequent trial. It was claimed that “Shuzzy” Hussain had been one of the men firing shots in the petrol station incident.

Eye witnesses described events in Amberley Street around the time of the murder. One reported seeing two white women passengers in a Mitsubishi Shogun, one in the front with shoulder length ginger hair, and another in the back with long dark hair. The car had its engine running and lights switched off and was parked on the right of Amberley Street, facing away from Leeds Road. The car was two to three years old and dark in colour. It rear spare wheel had a cover with a large red letter K on it, with five or six white letters to the right.

When the vehicle’s alarm activated the girls were heard screaming and there was the sound of running footsteps and a girl’s voice saying: ‘What have you done to him, Bob?’ and another girl saying: ‘Run, run, Robert.’ The witness heard a man saying something like: ‘Just wait, I’ll bring my cassette’.

The murder scene is pictured above centre.

According to Detective Supt Andy Brennan, the senior investigating officer at the time (pictured above left), another witness heard two shots being fired and women’s voices saying: ‘Run Bob, run Robert’. Two women were seen running towards Durkheim Court, one with loose, short, dark hair, 5ft 4in to 5ft 5in, possibly wearing a dark denim jacket or coat. A car was heard speeding off but the witness did not see the women get into a vehicle. A car alarm was also heard sounding. Yet another person, describing the same event, heard a man say words to the effect of: ‘I am just going to get the tape,’ the officer added. Brennan has since been promoted to Chief Superintendent and is now of Head of Professional Standards in West Yorkshire Police.

The people described by many eye witnesses at the time of the murder were never traced or, as the Bradford Three submit, no attempts were made. This is because police arrested Mohammed Niaz Khan, along with his co-defendants Abid Ashiq Hussain (pictured above right) and Sharaz Yaqub, shortly after the murder as a result of their names been given to police by members of the public.

The main police witness at the subsequent trial was Aleeza Bibi, who lived in Amberley Street. She described in Court how she heard two gunshots and saw two men running towards Leeds Road, one carrying a double barrelled sawn-off shotgun which he threw into a waiting Rover car. The men carried on running as the car drove off. A green Rover with a number similar to that she had noted was found later that day in Raglan Terrace. The car had been bought recently by Hussain.

At the time of the first arrests, it appears that police had already decided they were ‘favourites’ for the crime – as one well known detective put it – and so, it seems, did not attempt to focus their investigations elsewhere. Perhaps, if detectives had followed up eye witness testimony who knows what they would have found?

Nevertheless, although the Bradford Three were initially arrested the Crown Prosecution Service had no evidence that met the criteria or threshold to charge them with murder.  As a result they were released without charge.

So what changed? It was after nearly two years of further investigation when the police still could not find the killers that several new witness statements surfaced. Since there was no tangible evidence against them – neither forensic nor eye witnesses – it is the position of the Bradford Three that police found a few misguided souls who either held a grudge against them or who were going to benefit from their incarceration. As a result, the three men were convicted to life imprisonment at Leeds Crown Court in July 2007 for a crime they say they did not commit. Mrs Justice Rafferty, the trial judge, ordered Hussain and Khan to serve a minimum of 30 years in jail and Yaqub a minimum of 28 years after saying: “Who fired the shots is irrelevant. You three operated as a team and as a team you will be sentenced.”.  Yaqub had been brought to court in Leeds from Luxembourg, where he was serving a six-year sentence for drugs offences, to face trial. He completed that sentence before returning again to Britain to start his life term for the murder.

The Bradford Three further submit that witness statements relied on by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service should have and would have been rendered worthless no doubt had the law of hearsay not have been introduced in 2006. Perhaps the police were waiting for this and so subsequently ‘The Bradford Three’ were convicted due to these witness statements based on hearsay under the Joint Enterprise Law?

Victims of A Grave Miscarriage of Justice?

The Bradford Three were ultimately convicted under the controversial Joint Enterprise Law. Mohammed Niaz Khan was convicted, primarily, on hearsay evidence.

– Phone evidence shows Mohammed Niaz Khan was not at the murder scene at the time of the murder.

– His co-defendants were also nowhere near the scene.

– No DNA/Forensic evidence against Mohammed Niaz Khan and Sharaz Yaqub.

– No eyewitness testimony linking Mohammed Niaz Khan, Abid Hussain and Sharaz Yaqub at the scene of the crime.

– False statements allegedly given against Mohammed Niaz Khan by Mazhar Iqbal and his brother, Adnan Ahmed

Mazhar Iqbal clearly benefited from the incarceration of the Bradford Three. He was caught with 20 kilos of Class A drugs and was therefore in serious trouble as he was looking at a lengthy term of imprisonment, between 15 to 20 years. By fabricating a mendacious tale of their apparent confessions in relation to the murder of Shazad Hussain, and assisted in this task by his brother Adnan Ahmed, Mazhar Iqbal was rewarded handsomely and was given a much reduced sentence of only five years.

Basharat Wali and his girlfriend Samantha Harpin

Mohammed Niaz Khan has never met or heard of Basharat Wali. We can only assume he was manipulated by police and/or other conspirators in giving a false statement. His girlfriend Samantha Harpin later disassociated herself from the conspiracy.

– Retractions from statements had then been made by some witnesses after having a change of heart.

– Credibility of these witnesses was never questioned.

Mohammed Niaz Khan’s account of this miscarriage of justice is set out below:

Although brothers Mazhar Iqbal and Adnan Ahmed had initially given statements they later had a change of heart and retracted them. Obviously the police would not be too happy about this so it is easy to make the presumption that they would resort to bully boy tactics. Whilst Mazhar Iqbal showed the resolve to withstand pressure from the police and stick to his retraction, Adnan Ahmed capitulated and told yet another lie. This time he said that it was Mohammed Niaz Khan’s solicitor, Rashid Majid, who had forced him into making a retraction. As a result, the solicitor was charged for perverting the course of justice. Nevertheless, justice prevailed and the solicitor was unanimously cleared of any wrongdoing by the jury. The jury found the solicitor Not Guilty. What does this mean? Quite simply that witness Adnan Ahmed was proved to be a liar? Therefore, it begs the question that the credibility of Adnan Ahmed as a witness of truth was fatally undermined by accusing the solicitor of wrongdoing.

http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/4554991.Solicitor_is_cleared/

It is a near certainty that Adnan Ahmed’s testimony would have been discredited before the jury in ‘The Bradford Threes’ trial had the solicitors case had been tried before theirs. In addition, other evidence as a result would have also been severely been undermined too. Unfortunately, the damage to ‘The Bradford Three’ by that time had already been done as they had already been convicted and leave to appeal had been rejected. It would have made more sense for the solicitor’s case to have been tried before ‘The Bradford Three’s trial, but it kept being put off and delayed. Perhaps the police, too, were aware that if it had taken place beforehand then Adnan Ahmed’s testimony would have automatically been discredited in ‘The Bradford Three’ trial and the jury would have questioned other witness testimonies, also.

These witnesses were unreliable as can be seen and as was proved in Adnan Ahmed’s case and so this issue really needs to be revisited and addressed as it is a clear injustice to the ‘The Bradford Three.’

Ask yourself how reliable is hearsay evidence? How credible is the testimony of a known drug dealer cutting deals with the police? How credible and reliable is a witness who retracts his original statement and then retracts his retraction?

An elite Detective Constable involved in the case, Wasim Bashir, made the most shocking revelation when he came forward and admitted that he had fabricated evidence due to having been pressurised into misconduct by his superiors. As a result, he was charged with offences relating to the production of a false document – linked to statements made during the investigation. This also resulted in the showing out of a police informer by the senior detectives responsible for his safety and welfare, which placed that person’s life in immediate danger.

http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/4564791.Murder_probe_detective_charged_over__dishonesty_/

He was due to stand trial but charges were subsequently dropped since, the CPS claimed, it would not have been in the public interest to have proceeded. No, in actual fact this was a cover up as a prosecution here would have been damaging not only to those superiors but to the police force in general. Besides, the truth here would have severely undermined the safety of ‘The Bradford Three’s’ wrongful convictions.

So to reiterate, no forensic evidence against Mohammed Niaz Khan and Sharaz Yaqub, no eye witness testimony linking Mohammed Niaz Khan and his co-defendants to the scene of the crime, Primarily, false statements made by unreliable witnesses. This case is in urgent need of review as there are three men facing life in prison for a crime they claim they did not commit, which if true would mean the real killers are still out there somewhere. A chilling thought, indeed.

If anyone has ANY information that could help prove the innocence of the Bradford Three: Mohammed Niaz Khan, Abid Ashiq Hussain and Sharaz Yaqub they are asked to  please contact:-

Bowden Jones Solicitors (Huw Bowden) 22 Park Place, Cardiff CF10 3DQ

Tel: 029 2048 4550, Emergency Tel 07771568525, Email: Enquiries@bowdenjones.co.uk hbowden@bowdenjones.co.uk

All information will, of course, be treated with strict confidentiality.