A pensioner who died after being attacked in Rotherham could have been the victim of hate crime – targeted because he was dressed in traditional clothing.
Investigating officers are treating the assault on Mushin Ahmed, who was on his way to morning prayers when he was attacke, as a hate crime and have re-issued an appeal for witnesses.
The 81-year-old grandfather died 11 days after the attack in an area just off Fitzwilliam Road, in Rotherham on August 10.
A post-mortem examination concluded Mr Ahmed died as a result of the injuries sustained during the assault, but further forensic tests are ongoing.
Mr Ahmed’s family said in a statement: “The family is heartbroken to have lost such a loving husband, caring father and grandfather, who was also a gentle and charitable man.
“Mushin was an affable person who smiled and spoke to everyone. Well known throughout the town, he worked hard all his life, held high values and brought his family up with the same moral standards.
“Thank you to everyone for your prayers, support and offers of help. The expressions of grief and sadness as well as the flowers are greatly appreciated. Thank you to the police and staff of Rotherham Hospital who worked tirelessly on his behalf.”
Damien Hunt, 29, of Doncaster Road, Rotherham, and Kieran John Rice, 21, of Oakes Meadow, Rotherham, are due to appear at Sheffield Crown Court tomorrow in connection with the assault.
A further two men - a 29-year-old man from Dalton and a 24-year-old man from Thrybergh - have been arrested and bailed.
Detective Chief Inspector Zaf Ali said: “Mr Ahmed was dressed in traditional clothing on his way to the mosque when he was attacked, which is one possible motive for the attack upon him.
“However, the investigation is still at an early stage. While we keep an open mind as to the full motive at this time, we are treating this as a hate crime and will ensure that all possible lines of enquiry are followed. This is also in line with national crime recording standards.
“Our officers continue to support Mr Ahmed’s family at this very difficult time.
“I would like to reiterate that this is an ongoing investigation, with legal proceedings now active against two individuals, so there is a risk that any speculation or comments of this nature could prejudice our continued enquiries.
“We will not jeopardise our investigation by commenting further on the detail of this matter other than to reassure all sections the local community of our continued support.
“I also appeal to the local community for help in identifying the movements of Mr Ahmed prior to the incident.
“Were you in the area of Doncaster Road area close to the junction of Mowbray Street or Fitzwilliam Road, which is at the Herringthorpe end of Rotherham, in the early hours of Monday 10 August? Did you see a group of males hanging around the area, did you drive or walk past them?
“If anyone has any information relating to the attack on Mr Ahmed, no matter how trivial it may seem to you, please contact us.”
Anyone with information should call police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111, quoting incident number 147 of August 10, 2015.
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