Ahmed Hassan's family speak out
Jun 24 2008 by Andrew Hirst, Huddersfield Daily Examiner
IT was supposed to be a fun shopping trip with friends.
But even before talented 17-year-old A-level student Ahmed Hassan got on the train in Dewsbury to go to the Trafford Shopping Centre in Manchester he had been fatally injured in a meaningless and unprovoked attack.
At about 2pm on Saturday, December 15 last year, Ahmed and three of his friends went to Dewsbury railway station to catch a train to go shopping for Eid.
Youths looking for trouble were hanging around the area.
They included Michael Brook, 18, and Anthony Sorren, 17. Both had been boozing all morning and were drunk.
Sorren approached Ahmed and his friends and tried to intimidate them by positioning his face in their faces so they were nose to nose.
To their credit they refused to be riled by such an aggressive gesture and simply tried to move away.
As the Newcastle to Manchester train arrived at 2.07 Ahmed and his friends went to catch it, but Brook and Sorren followed them.
What began as a minor scuffle ended in horror as Brook took a kitchen knife from his pocket and stabbed Ahmed once in the back.
It was enough to kill him.
Ahmed was taken to Dewsbury District Hospital in a critical condition, but later died.
Brook and Sorren were both were charged with murder.
But the charge faced by Sorren was later revised to one of affray.
Ahmed lived on Craig Close in Batley and an estimated 5,000 people attended his funeral in his home town.
Police closed the road outside the Mount Pleasant mosque as mourners filled Batley’s streets to pay their respects to a highly-respected young man who was studying A-levels in politics, maths, law and economics at Heckmondwike Grammar School.
There were so many people that the services was broadcast to crowds outside the mosque.
Ahmed’s grief-stricken family are finding some comfort in their religion, but every day is hard for them.
They said: “Ahmed was a son, a brother, a friend, a shining star. He touched so many lives in his brief stay with us and was well-loved, respected and admired by his family, friends and even his tutors.
“His smile, charm and selfless attitude will make it even harder to bear his loss.
“He was a promising, handsome young man and would have been an asset not only to his family, but to the community and to the country as a whole.
“We take refuge in the words of our beloved Prophet; ‘Our children and families are all a pleasant gift bestowed upon you by the Almighty God. In fact, they are trusts placed in our care for a certain period of time.
“ ‘God allowed you the time to enjoy and be benefited by his company, so freely and happily. Remember that weeping and crying can never bring the deceased back, nor does this lighten the burden of sorrow.
“What has to be, must be, and what was to be has already come to be.’ ”
The family added: “We would like to thank all the people who helped Ahmed at the time of this cowardly attack, especially his friends there with him, the doctors and hospital staff who tried so hard to save him, the police, the coroner’s officer and the police family liaison officers.
“We also really appreciate the genuine support we have received from the community and the general public and the messages of sympathy and prayers from the schools, Masjids and churches.
“We hope our tragic loss will help to unite the community and all faiths.
“His shining star will never dim. In fact, it will burn brighter in our hearts and brighter still in heaven and our love for him will grow stronger.”
Mark Tweedle, head teacher at Heckmondwike Grammar School, said: “Ahmed was a young man with great promise.
“He was a thoughtful and articulate young man who was gentle, kind and sensitive.
“As one of his teachers remarked: ‘If the world was full of Ahmed Hassans it would be a very much better place.’ ”
Det Supt Paul Kennedy, the senior officer who led the case for West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide And Major Enquiry Team, said: “Ahmed Hassan was a young man who had his entire life to look forward to, a man of impeccable character whose loss has had a devastating affect on his family and friends.
“He was in the wrong place at the wrong time when he fell victim to Brook’s cowardly and violent actions.
“Brook has shown himself to be a dangerous individual and will now, rightly, spend a considerable time behind bars.”
Det Insp Dave Boldison, from British Transport Police said: “This was a shocking incident. Ahmed was enjoying a day out with his friends when he was brutally attacked.
“I can reassure the public that incidents such as this are rare on the railway network.
“However, that does nothing to ease the pain Ahmed’s family must be going through and our sympathies remain with them.”