One of Mushin Ahmed's killers was out on bail at time of fatal attack
One of the racist killers of Rotherham pensioner Mushin Ahmed was on bail and under curfew at the time of the attack, it has been revealed.
Damien Hunt, who was cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter over the killing, was on bail for two offences as he joined friend Dale Jones in launching an unprovoked and fatal attack on the 81-year-old pensioner in August last year.
Sheffield Crown Court heard Hunt was on bail for two matters yet to be dealt with by the courts - an assault and affray charge from March 2015 and a burglary matter on June 15.
As part of his bail conditions, Hunt was not meant to leave his home between the hours of 7pm and 7am each day.
However, at around 3am on August 10 he participated in the fatal attack on Mr Ahmed.
Jones had followed Mr Ahmed, who was on his way to early-morning prayers at the mosque, down the street calling him a ‘groomer’.
Hunt threw the first punch which knocked Mr Ahmed to the floor before Jones repeatedly kicked and stamped on Mr Ahmed’s head, leaving him with brain damage.
The pair walked away together, leaving a bloodied but conscious Mr Ahmed on the floor.
The victim was not found for two hours by a passer-by, by which time Jones and Hunt had attempted to dispose of clothing that could link them to the attack and Hunt had gone early-morning fishing to keep out of the way of police.
Mr Ahmed died 11 days later in hospital, having suffered brain damage and fractures to his face and eye socket.
Judge Mr Justice Males said to Hunt: “You committed this offence while on bail and subject to a curfew, so you should not have been out on the streets at all.”
It was the prosecution’s case that both men had participated in the kicking and stamping on Mr Ahmed, with the Adidas trainers worn by Jones matching the stamp injury pattern on the pensioner’s face.
There was also DNA evidence against Hunt, whose DNA was found on the broken dentures of Mr Ahmed after he punched the OAP in the face, cutting his own knuckles in the process.
CCTV footage conclusively proved both men were at the scene - leading both to base their defence cases on accepting they had been there but the other man was solely responsible for the attack.
Jones was the main protagonist in the attack after getting himself into a ‘raging fury’ following hours of drink and drug-taking that had begun the previous day.
Both Jones and Hunt had been drinking Sambuca and taking cocaine prior to the attack.
Jones had already made threats to kill his girlfriend’s former partner that night and had tried to attack an Asian taxi driver while shouting racist abuse at him moments before coming across Mr Ahmed on Doncaster Road.
Less than an hour after the attack Jones saw a friend in the street who he told ‘It is a good job you are not a P***’.
He also changed out of his trainers into a pair of flip-flops, with the clothes and shoes he was wearing at the time of the attack never found by police.
Jones, who has previous convictions for violence that included an occasion where he stamped on another man’s head, was said to have bragged about the attack, telling friends who had witnessed it that police would have no evidence against him.
Hunt meanwhile told a series of lies in his police interviews, initially claiming that he had sustained cuts to his knuckles as a result of crashing a bike into a lamppost while trying to avoid a gypsy woman with a baby.
After police checked CCTV footage of the time and place he said it had happened, he initially said the incident must have happened on a different day.
Hunt admitted under cross-examination the account had been ‘a load of b******s’ but he made it up as he didn’t want to ‘grass’ on Jones.
Hunt claimed in his defence that he had tried to stop Jones attacking Mr Ahmed and may have accidentally punched the pensioner while swinging at Jones but had not intended to hurt the 81-year-old.
But the court heard key evidence from witness Shane Rice, who had been with both men on the night and had seen the attack unfold.
Mr Rice, who was at the scene with both defendants and his brother Kieran, had initially told court that Jones had punched and kicked Mr Ahmed and he had not seen Hunt participating in the attack.
But eventually accepted he had lied to the court about Hunt’s involvement for the sake of his brother, who had been arrested over the assault.
He said: “The only reason was protecting my brother. He were in a prison cell with Damien.
“Once I started, I felt like there was no way out.”
Mr Rice added: “The truth is I seen Damien hit Mr Ahmed first.”
He said he had then seen Jones kick Mr Ahmed to the side of the head.
The court heard that while in prison Hunt had made a series of phone calls to the Rice brothers from an illicit mobile phone in which he had discussed the case with them.
Mr Justice Males said neither defendant had shown any remorse for the racially-aggravated killing.
He said: “It is a shocking thing in modern Britain that a man should be attacked and beaten because of the colour of his skin, but there is no doubt this is what Mr Ahmed suffered.
“He had done nothing at all to either of you, but you Dale Jones have a long-standing and unreasoning hatred of anyone of Asian appearance, although in fact Mr Ahmed was of Arab heritage.”
He said the court had heard of previous incidents which demonstrated Jones’ racist attitudes and noted the racist comment he had made to a friend shortly after the attack ‘as if what you had done was some kind of joke’.
Justice Males said: “These are disgusting sentiments, but they demonstrate clearly what motivated you in the extreme and brutal violence you inflicted on this elderly gentleman who wanted nothing more than to go and pray.”