Sarmad Rami Al-Saidi murder: Three identified and jailed for roles in murder of 16-year-old
A man and two teenagers have today been identified and jailed for their roles in the stabbing and murder of 16-year-old Sarmad Rami Al-Saidi in Preston, who died just days after Christmas last year.
Appearing at Preston Crown Court Jamie Dixon, 19, was told he will have to serve a minimum of 19 years and his co-defendant 17-year-old Lemar Anthony Forbes, who previously had his identity protected, was told he will have to spend at least 15 years behind bars for their crimes.
Prosecutor Nicholas Clarke CQ told the court today that there had been a history of disputes between the defendants and Sarmad, including one disagreement over an unpaid £25 debt.
The pair had both worn masks when they attacked Preston teenager Sarmad last December, before stabbing him multiple times with a machete and large hunting knife and then bragging about it afterwards.
The court heard that Lemar Forbes even waved the weapon around whilst remains of Sarmad's flesh could still be seen on it on a mobile phone video.
Seventeen-year-old Asad Hussain, who can also be named today, was sentenced to five years in custody for conspiring to commit the serious assault which led to Sarmad’s death.
Sarmad had been found with serious stab wounds at an address in Chatham Place, Preston, at 5.43pm on December 23, 2020 and died just four days later at Royal Preston Hospital after never regaining consciousness.
He was initially treated at the scene but was later transferred to hospital where he sadly died on the evening of December 27, having never regained consciousness.
The injuries included 12 stab wounds to his chest, thighs, hands and lower limbs as he curled up on the floor to try and protect himself during the brutal attack.
One of his wounds was as deep as 14 cm.
The court heard the saddening details of the ordeal, which lasted little over two minutes, that left the teenager with a 'through and through' wound that pierced completely through his right thigh.
Although the wounds individually were not considered to be fatal, the combination of 12 wounds along with the blood loss had caused a cardiac arrest and prevented blood supply to his major organs, the court heard today.
Detectives launched a murder inquiry, which revealed the individuals who carried out the frenzied attack to be Dixon and Forbes.
They were assisted in the conspiracy by Hussain who had then decided to pull out of the plans, telling Dixon and Forbes that Sarmad was no longer at the address.
A jury at Liverpool Crown Court heard how earlier on the day of the fatal attack, Hussain, had text Sarmad to find out his location under the guise of arranging a meeting to discuss a £25 debt.
As Dixon and Forbes waited around the corner for nearly an hour waiting for the green light to enter the conservatory, Hussain went into the building to ensure Sarmad was unarmed.
Hussain, who himself entered the conservatory with a baseball bat, convinced Sarmad to lay down his machete and then waited for a phone call from his co-conspirators so he could give the signal for them to proceed.
When they had received the signal from Hussain that Sarmad was unarmed, Dixon and Forbes put on balaclavas went into the conservatory and 'struck and stabbed' Sarmad several times with the weapons, before Jamie tried to pull Lemar Forbes away.
Lemar then added "no, f*** this" and went back for more and stabbed the teenager several more times.
The court then heard that the pair boasted about their crimes afterwards, including in a mobile phone video where Lemar Forbes was "holding the hunting knife, waving it around with blood and body tissue still on it."
It also heard Jamie spoke about his crimes to a friend in custody over a recorded phone call just 15 minutes after the attack, saying he had "stabbed him up".
Hussain stayed at the scene, pretending not to know the identity of Sarmad’s attackers – at one point even asking a witness to lie and say the baseball bat wasn’t his.
He also relayed crucial information to Dixon and Forbes about the early stages of the police investigation, including witness accounts about the ethnicity of the suspects and what they were wearing.
Evidence secured by officers showed the attack had been in the planning for a number of days.
Following a trial at Liverpool Crown Court in July Dixon of Clayton Avenue, Leyland, was unanimously found guilty of murder, while Hussain, Thorn Street, Preston, was found not guilty of murder but guilty of conspiracy to commit Section 18 Assault. Forbes, of Skeffington Road, Preston, pleaded guilty to murder at an earlier hearing.
Sitting at Preston Crown Court, Judge Mr Justice Goss addressed Dixon and Forbes saying: "Each armed and with your identities concealed, you entered the conservatory and you struck him cross his chest as he tried to escape.
"He went to the floor as you carried on slicing and chopping at his body. You ignored his pleas of 'I'm sorry' and resisted others in their attempts to stop you.
"It was a joint attack in which both of you were intent in causing serious injury in what was a planned and terrifying attack with fearsome weapons."
He then added: "As a result of your actions a family have lost a loved and cherished child. Their lives will never be the same. This is a case of young people driven by the false glamour of the illegal supply of drugs and gang culture.
"You carried lethal weapons on another person to fatal effect, ensuing misery to all involved. A young life was needlessly ended and nothing can undo what has been done."
Peter Finnegan QC, defending Jamie Dixon said he was 'immature' and had been hanging around with groups of boys much younger than him, but had no previous convictions for violent offences or knife carrying.
He added: "Although he behaved dreadfully, there is good in this young man. He feels the most dreadful remorse for what he has done and the pain he has caused. A life has been taken away and cut short."
The defence of Lemar Forbes, Paul Storey QC, said the 17-year-old had been "trapped in a state of self medicating and found himself bound to others in a constant state of conflict with other boys" at the time of the attack and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and conduct disorder after an abusive and neglectful childhood.
But he went on to note the "extremely impressive" journey he has come on since his arrest, adding that the 17-year-old had a "deep pool of remorse" and had since overcome his stress disorder and would be able to transition to into adulthood.
And Mohammad Nawaz QC, defending 17-year-old Assad Hussain, said he had previously been friends with Sarmad, adding:"The life he was leading at the time involved bad decisions and bad company, and the combination of those culminated in those tragic few minutes on December 23."
DCI Lee Wilson, of Lancashire Police’s Force Major Investigation Team, said: “This gratuitous and senseless violence has led to a family being robbed of their much loved and cherished son and our thoughts remain with them at this time.
“While no sentence can ever reflect or make up for the senseless and violent act of murder, I am pleased that these despicable individuals will be in custody for a significant period of time.
"They all acted in an evil and cowardly way, and although Hussain was never convicted of murder he played an integral role in the conspiracy by ensuring Sarmad was unarmed and pinpointing Dixon and Forbes to exactly where he was. Dixon and Forbes, knowing that Sarmad was trapped and defenceless, then carried out an evil and completely unwarranted attack. There is no doubt in my mind that they fully intended to kill Sarmad. As if that was not enough, they then revelled in his death.
“My sincere hope is that this case acts as a warning and wakeup call to any youngsters involved in gangs and knife crime about the consequences of both. Teenagers and young men only have to look at the impact this desire from Dixon, Forbes and Hussain for revenge and status has had on their lives and how it caused the end of Sarmad’s.
“The only positive which could ever come from this case is that hopefully teenage boys will think twice before arming themselves with weapons because the consequences can be devastating for all involved. If you carry a knife at some point you will end up using it.”
In a statement, Sarmad’s parents Ahmed and Nadia, said: “We stand before you as another family grieving the loss of a teenage son, taken all too prematurely, and traumatised by the conditions in which he was taken from us.
“Three heartless cowards who between them planned to murder our 16 year old defenceless precious child in an unprovoked attack. They came armed with weapons into the safety of someone’s home with a premeditated intention to kill. They knew the devastating impact they wanted to create.
“Since the 23rd of December 2020 our lives, and the lives of those who witnessed this brutal murder, will never be the same. We will not have the wholesome family life. We will remain incomplete without Sarmad. His cheeky laughter will never again be heard in our home.
“The defendants will serve their sentences behind prison walls, where their families will be able to visit them and hug them and still be able to hear their voice. They will celebrate each passing year.
“For our grieving family we will remember Sarmad’s birthdays only up to his 16th. We will only be able to visit his grave. Sarmad was our world and our lives will always be incomplete without him.
“The sentences given today for taking our beloved Sarmad’s life will never reflect the pain and devastation with which we are living each day.
“Knife crime seems to be increasing, its victims and the perpetrators getting younger and younger, when will 'enough be enough' and carrying a knife be 'not worth it'?
“Rest in Peace. Son, brother and friend.”