A MURDER victim’s criminal past could provide vital clues to the identity of his calculating killer.
Detectives remain desperate for a breakthrough in the hunt for the man who gunned down Iranian-born Jasem Asakerh in a targeted attack in Thornton Lodge on Friday.
Det Supt Steve Payne, who is heading up the investigation, yesterday described the events before and after the 28-year-old’s murder on Brook Street.
And he revealed that the dead man, nicknamed ‘Mo’, had been known to police – and hinted that his past could help pinpoint his killer.
He said: “Clearly part of my investigation is the background of the victim and we do believe it was a targeted attack.
“We are working to build up a picture of what he was doing on the night and further back than that.
“We are looking into his background, he was known to the police and that gives us confidence that he was targeted.”
Det Supt Payne would not reveal why Mr Asakerh had been involved with the police in the past.
But when asked if he believed the killing was drug or gang related he said: “The investigation is at an early stage but that is a line of inquiry that we are looking at.”
Mr Asakerh, who arrived in the UK from Iran in 2003, had lived in Lockwood but was believed to have been living in Birkby before his death.
He appeared at Huddersfield Magistrates’ Court last year for driving without a valid licence and was fined £110.
Hours before his death he was with four other men, all in their 20s, in an Audi Q7 car, on Brook Street.
Police believe the movements of the car could be key to the investigation.
Det Supt Payne said after it was seen on Brook Street at 8pm, the car was taken into the town centre.
He said: “We need to trace where the car was after 8pm.
“We know it was here and then visited other places in the town centre so we need to know if anyone saw anything. Please contact us.”
The car parked returned to Brook Street at about 3.30am.
Det Supt Payne said it was not there long before the incident took place.
He said: “A lone gunman appeared from the direction of the community centre, approached the rear of the vehicle and discharged two shots through a closed window.
“One of them hit the victim and caused the fatal injury.
“After that he (the gunman) ran off towards the community centre and got away on foot.”
A 26-year-old man who was also in the car was hurt, but only suffered cuts and grazes. It is not clear if his injuries were caused by the bullet or from shattering glass.
The 26-year-old got out of the car and ran off.
Mr Asakerh got out but then got back in the car, which then drove to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. The victim was dead on arrival.
The other men are helping police with their investigation.
Officers have been carrying out house-to-house inquiries and conducted forensic examination of evidence including gun cartridges found at the scene.
They have also been trawling through CCTV and searching the surrounding area, including the nearby railway line.
Det Supt Payne urged the community to help.
He said: “I would like to reassure the local community that at this stage we believe this was not a random attack, and the gunman deliberately targeted the people in this vehicle.
“But perhaps more importantly, we also need the local community’s help to trace the person responsible.
“We know that Brook Street and the area around it is used by a lot of local young people as a place to hang out, and the chances are that many of them will have seen the Audi during the evening and may have vital information which can assist us without even realising it.”
The attacker was wearing a hooded top and a bandana covering his face but no other details about him are known.
Det Supt Payne said: “Clearly he is dangerous and needs to be caught.”
Neighbourhood Policing Team officers are currently in the area providing reassurance patrols for local residents.
Witnesses or anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 01484 436636 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.
In the country since 03
JASEM Asakerh, 28, was an Iranian national.
Known also as ‘Mo’ he moved to the UK in 2003, although it is not known when he arrived in Huddersfield.
He was registered at an address on Woodhead Road in Lockwood last year, but It is understood he lived in Birkby before his death.
His parents are still believed to be in Iran, but he is thought to have a cousin in this country.
He was known to police before his death.
An entry in the Examiner's Court in Brief section on January 10 last year showed he had been fined £110 for driving without a valid licence.
Det Supt Steve Payne, who is leading the investigation, would not reveal what other criminal convictions he had.
When asked if his record was drug-related, he said: “I'm not prepared to say at this stage.”
But he hinted that it may be key to the killing.