A witness in the Jordan Thomas murder trial has claimed he was paid £100 by the victim’s grandmother after making a false statement about the case.
Kalim Akhtar told Sheffield Crown Court his police statement that suggested defendant Jama Ahmed had been carrying a gun and looking for Jordan the night before the killing was false.
Mr Thomas was shot dead by a masked gunman on Derek Dooley Way on December 21 last year.
Ahmed and fellow defendant Asif Yousaf are now on trial for the murder and it is the prosecution’s case they were part of a ‘planned attack’ on Jordan following a long-running feud between ‘rival groups’.
Mr Akhtar said he had put been ‘tricked’ and ‘pressurised’ by Mr Thomas’ family and the police into making a statement on May 16.
He agreed with Derek Dias QC, representing Ahmed, that after making the statement at the home of Jordan’s grandmother Lynn Hamblett, she had put £100 in his pocket and said ‘Have it as a gift’.
He said he also felt under pressure as he lived close to Jordan’s family and his sister was the girlfriend of the victim’s cousin.
Under questioning, Mr Akhtar denied he was now changing his evidence because he was scared of Ahmed.
He said he had told the police on May 19 he had ‘got paid’ for his statement.
Ms Hamblett was previously questioned about the alleged bribe during her evidence last week and said the incident had never happened.
In his original statement, Mr Akhtar said that between 8pm and 9pm on Saturday, December 20, he saw a man carrying a gun and wearing a balaclava ‘looking around’ on De La Salle Drive in Burngreave.
He also said he later saw Jama Ahmed, who he had known for a ‘number of years’, that night in Broomhall wearing the same clothing as the gunman but without the balaclava on.
But he told the court yesterday he did not know Ahmed.
Bryan Cox QC, for the prosecution, said Mr Akhtar had sent a message to police officer Lisa Kramer the following day to say he was ‘very scared’ about making his statement and didn’t want to go to court.
Mr Akhtar denied sending the message.
Mr Cox said Mr Akhtar’s family was ‘terrified’ about him co-operating with the police and the witness was ‘scared stiff’.
Mr Akhtar said: “I wasn’t scared. I’m only scared of my Lord.”
Mr Akhtar said he didn’t know what he was signing when he made his statement.
Mr Cox said: “You are prepared to say anything to get yourself out of this mess.”
Mr Dias, for Ahmed, said Mr Akhtar was under ‘tremendous pressure’ from Mr Thomas’ family and the police.
Mr Akhtar said that when he gave his statement ‘my mind was all over and I didn’t know what was happening’.
Mr Dias said Mr Akhtar had been telling the police for months that he had not seen anything on the night before the killing but they were ‘not interested’.
DC Lisa Kramer, who was the family liaison officer for Mr Thomas’ relatives in the case, said the bribery claim was fully investigated and it was found ‘there was no substance to the complaint’.
Mr Dias said the bribery investigation had only involved detectives working on the murder case and no one independent. He asked why no statement was taken from Mr Akhtar about the ‘serious matter’.
DC Kramer said: “We do not believe he was given money. There was no evidence to suggest that was the case.”
She said there had been ‘inconsistences’ in his account and those given by his brothers, who had raised concerns about the matter.
She said Mr Akhtar had not provided the £100 he was said to have been given so it could be analysed for fingerprints.
DC Kramer said the investigation had been ‘done in exactly the right way’.
Ahmed, 26, of Violet Bank Road, and Yousaf, 33, of Broomhall Place, both deny the murder of Mr Thomas and the attempted murder of Neshaun Ferguson, who was injured in the shooting.
Yousaf’s parents, Mohammed Yousaf, 61, and Tazeem Bi, 57, both of Violet Bank Road, both deny attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The trial continues.