14 Aug 2011

Peace rally in Birmingham as murder suspects appear in court

Thousands attend a peace rally in Birmingham following the deaths of three men who were trying to protect shops from looters.

Community groups will hold a peaceful protest in Winson Green, where Haroon Jahan, 21, and brothers Shazad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31, were killed last week.

Thousands of people have gathered in Birmingham for a peace rally following violence that claimed three lives.

Community groups held a peaceful protest in Winson Green, where Haroon Jahan, 21, and brothers Shazad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31, were killed last week.

The men died in hospital after they were being struck by a car as they tried to protect shops from looters.

Joshua Donald, 26, from Ladywood, and a 17-year-old boy from Winson Green, who cannot be named, both appeared before magistrates on Sunday charged with three counts of murder.

They were remanded in custody to appear at Birmingham Crown Court on Monday.

Adam King, 23, from Kings Norton in Birmingham, was charged with three counts of murder on Sunday night and will appear at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on Monday morning.

Mr Jahan’s father Tariq told the crowd on Sunday that seeing so many different members of the community together gave him “strength in my heart”.

The 46-year-old, wearing a T-shirt with the names of Haroon, Shazad and Abdul on it, asked the crowd to remember them.

He said: “To me it’s the month of Ramadan, as a Muslim I believe that this is a very special month.

“For us Muslims we believe the gates of heaven are open and the gates of hell are shut this month, so that gives me the strength to believe that the three boys did not die in vain, they died for this community and I hope that this community will remember them.”

He said: “I would like to thank the community, especially the young people, for listening to what I have to say and staying calm. Thank you very much to the young generation.”

More than 2,000 people have now been arrested over last week’s violence, and Scotland Yard Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin said he expects more than 3,000 rioters to face punishment – the largest-scale convictions of modern times.

The force has already arrested 1,276 people, of whom 748 have been charged.

A 22-year-old man arrested over the murder of a pensioner who was attacked as he tried to stamp out a fire faces a third day of questioning.

Richard Bowes, 68, died in hospital just before midnight on Thursday after he was attacked in Spring Bridge Road in Ealing, west London, during Monday’s unrest.

A 27-year-old man is being questioned in a south London police station on suspicion of murdering Trevor Ellis in Croydon.

Mr Ellis, 26, from Brixton Hill, south London, was found in a car in Duppas Hill Road on Monday night with a gunshot wound to the head.

Detective Chief Inspector Neil Hutchison, who is leading the investigation, said he believed that those responsible for Mr Ellis’s murder were involved in looting and rioting in the area.

Meanwhile, a 33-year-old man was arrested on Saturday on suspicion of causing a fire which destroyed the Reeves Furniture store during rioting in Croydon on Monday, Scotland Yard said.

The man is the fourth person to be arrested in connection with the blaze that destroyed the family-run furniture store, which had been a landmark in the south London suburb for more than 100 years.