Murder accused ‘was trying to protect Muslim pensioner from racist attack’

Mushin Ahmed
Mushin Ahmed

A man accused of jointly murdering a Muslim pensioner has said he was trying to protect the 81-year-old victim from a racist attack.

Damien Hunt, aged 30, said he had tried to prevent fellow defendant Dale Jones attacking Rotherham pensioner Mushin Ahmed.

A forensic tent on Fitzwilliam Road in Rotherham following the murder of Mushin Ahmed last summer

A forensic tent on Fitzwilliam Road in Rotherham following the murder of Mushin Ahmed last summer

Mr Ahmed, of East Dene, had been walking to early-morning prayers at his local mosque when the fatal attack occurred on August 10 last year.

Hunt told a jury at Sheffield Crown Court he and Jones had taken cocaine together and had been outside his house on Doncaster Road at 3am with other two friends.

Hunt said Jones had made ‘racist comments’ towards a passing taxi driver and when he had seen Mr Ahmed a few minutes later, had started ‘circling’ him and calling him a ‘groomer’.

He said after Jones started following Mr Ahmed he went after him in an attempt to ‘calm him down’.

Hunt said he started fighting with Jones to prevent an attack on the pensioner, who he said he knew by sight.

“I just lashed out at Dale. I just wanted him to leave him alone.”

Hunt said while he was fighting Jones, Mr Ahmed was on the ground.

“Dale pushed him to the floor,” he said. “Dale kicked him in the side of the head like a football. I was pulling him away, screaming and crying like a little girl for him to leave him alone.

“He jumped on his head with both of his feet. I was screaming at the top of my voice ‘Give over Dale’.”

The court has previously heard Hunt’s DNA was found on Mr Ahmed’s broken dentures at the scene and Hunt had an injury to his knuckles.

Hunt said he had ‘possibly’ accidentally hit Mr Ahmed when swinging a punch at Jones.

Hunt said he was not racist and had ‘got lots of Asian mates’.

He accepted lying about his whereabouts and the reason for his injured hand in his initial police interviews, but said he had not wanted to be a ‘grass’.

Jones, 30, of East Bawtry Road, Rotherham and Hunt, of Doncaster Road, Rotherham, deny murder.