A man accused of murdering a Muslim pensioner in a racist attack has refused to give evidence in his defence.
Dale Jones, who is jointly accused of killing 81-year-old Mushin Ahmed with Damien Hunt, elected not to answer questions at Sheffield Crown Court about his role in the fatal attack in Rotherham last August.
Jones and co-accused Damien Hunt both accept being present when Mr Ahmed was punched, kicked and stamped on as he walked to morning prayers at his local mosque. But both defendants say the other man was solely responsible for inflicting the injuries which resulted in Mr Ahmed dying in hospital 11 days later.
It has been alleged Jones had repeatedly called Mr Ahmed a ‘groomer’ before the attack started.
Andrew O’Byrne QC, representing Jones, told the court his client had chosen not to give evidence. Judge Mr Justice Males asked if Jones was aware that the jury may take ‘inferences against him from that if they consider it appropriate to do so.’
Mr O’Byrne said his client had been advised of the situation.
The jury had heard earlier from probation officer Alasdair Kirkpatrick, who said Jones had demonstrated ‘racist beliefs’ to him in April 2015.
In a statement read to court, Mr Kirkpatrick said he had been interviewing Jones in relation to an eight-week suspended sentence he had received for a public order offence related to football hooliganism when he was ‘taken aback’ by comments Jones made about Pakistani men.
He said Jones had told him Pakistanis make him ‘very angry’ and, when asked why, he used a racist term and said they are all ‘rapists’.
The court also heard about Jones’ previous convictions for violent offences. This included a public order offence in which CCTV had shown Jones kicking a man in the head as he lay on the floor outside a Rotherham bar.
Another conviction for battery related to an attack on his ex-girlfriend in front of their two-year-old child in which he had pushed his fingers into her eyes and punched and headbutted her.
A further assault occasioning actual bodily harm offence involved Jones and two other men attacking a 37-year-old victim from behind and knocking him unconscious.
Jones, 30, of East Bawtry Road, Rotherham and Hunt, 30, of Doncaster Road, Rotherham, deny murder.