A GANG of teenagers murdered a Huddersfield taxi driver in a planned revenge attack.
That is the prosecution's case against the five defendants accused of killing Lockwood Taxis driver Mohammad Parvaiz.
Making his closing speech yesterday, Adrian Waterman QC told jurors that all of the youths played a part in the savage attack, which left the 42-year-old for dead at Field Head in Golcar on July 22.
Christopher Murphy, 18, Graeme Slavin, 18, two-17-year-olds and a 16-year-old deny murder. Michael Hand, 19, changed his plea to guilty earlier in the trial proceedings.
Addressing the jury at Leeds Crown Court, Mr Waterman said: "You may have found yourselves wondering how could this happen? How could it come to be that six young men could do such a wicked thing?
"What took place was a group beating of a defenceless man by a gang of six fit young men."
Mr Waterman told the jury that while he was not suggesting that the defendants agreed to kill, they set out for revenge, which included beating up Mr Parvaiz and stealing property from him.
He added: "The crown's case is that before the taxi stopped on Field Head the plan was that the taxi driver would be beaten up.
"Nobody could have been under any illusion about what was going on and everyone there was taking part in some way, even if they did not directly assault Mr Parvaiz."
Mr Waterman told the jury that each defendant did something while the father-of-three's injuries were being caused which led in part to his death, stating that roles such as acting as lookout or throwing a stone were contributory factors.
He said the defendants were part of an ongoing dispute with a group of Asian youths, during which they smashed Murphy's scooter.
He told jurors some of them had attempted to distance themselves from this fact as it was the catalyst for the attack on Mr Parvaiz, who they wrongly believed dropped off the gang.
He told jurors: "This group was ill-disposed towards taxi drivers in general and to the driver of that minibus in particular.
"If their desire for revenge was limited to damaging the taxi from Lockwood then they had opportunities to have done so without the slightest risk of injuring the person – they could have gone down to Lockwood Taxis and done damage without any risk of being identified"
On the night Mr Parvaiz was killed, Mr Waterman said the defendants lured Mr Parvaiz to the 'ideal ambush location' of Field Head, with most of them wearing hooded tops to disguise themselves.
He said: "No one needed any persuading, there didn't need to be any discussion, they didn't dawdle. All of them must have been in on what was planned.
"The moment the taxi drove into Field Head they executed the plan and all hell broke loose."
He told jurors it was obvious that by throwing stones and sticks at the taxi the defendants were putting the driver at risk of serious injury.
He said: "If all they wanted was to smash the windows, as soon as they appreciated that risk, they would have not wanted to carry on. The evidence is extremely strong this was not just about smashing the windows.
"The main purpose was to disable it – where was the driver going to go? Nowhere."
Mr Waterman said eye witnesses painted a consistent picture of the attack.
He told jurors that there was no scientific evidence against one of the 17-year-old defendants, but any blood traces could have been walked off his shoes.
He said injuries found on his hand could have been caused by glass, and told the jury to consider why he had blood on his trousers.
He told the jury the teenager was at the passenger side of the taxi and that his throwing of a stone was a significant act.
He said that he did not run off until he heard someone shout they had called the police, and until that point he was still very much part of the attack.
He said: "He may not have been right in the thick of it but he stuck with the group His loyalty to his friends who had implicated him in a murder was greater than telling the truth.
"He clearly played a smaller part, but the law says that makes him as guilty of the offence as anyone who did more."
Mr Waterman told the jury that it was clear the 16-year-old defendant had gone onto Field Head as an active part of the group.
He said stayed back on the alley between Field Head and Moorcroft Avenue to act as a lookout while his friends carried out the attack.
Mr Waterman said admissions the youth made to friends the day after the attack meant that there was a plan and he was part of it.
He said Slavin, Murphy and the second 17-year-old were there on the night in a 'different category'.
He said: "There's evidence to show they were involved on the driver's side (of the taxi) along with Mr Hand. They were the four who carried out the actual physical assault on Mr Parvaiz."
He said the 17-year-old knew what was going on and continued to participate in the attack even though he knew the likely consequence, helping drag Mr Parvaiz out of the taxi.
Mr Waterman told the jury the teenager punched Mr Parvaiz as he was being dragged out and not while he was standing up as he had testified. He said the victim was never standing up as there was no blood spatter at that level.
Mr Waterman said Slavin threw a slab of concrete at the window of the taxi, but then didn't run away.
He said his act of lifting the victim's body up with his foot was: "At the very best a punt to see if he was conscious, at worst to give him an angry, violent kick."
Mr Waterman said: "Some of the defendants at least expressed some regret, and you may have thought it was a little too rehearsed. Mr Murphy didn't even give a rehearsed impression of regret.
"This man orchestrated the events, the only evidence there isn't against him is scientific–the reason is because he got rid of his clothes."
He told the court on the night of the attack Murphy had two stones and seemed to also have a stick.
He said he was seen to stamp on Mr Parvaiz's head and stole his watch while others were beating him.
He said: "It's part of demonstrating the plan was more than just to smash up the taxi, Murphy stole the watch as recompense for what happened to his scooter.
Mr Waterman told the jury that Murphy later bragged about the attack and that he also stood out because he had blood on his shoes.
He said: "This was someone who wanted not just his pound of flesh, but his pound as well."
Mr Waterman said: "You've heard evidence of racist things being said, they do fit what this group did but the motivation was (primarily) was revenge. You may think their views made it easier for them to treat Mr Parvaiz the way they did.
"They almost certainly didn't set out to kill him, but they didn't care what they did to him, they didn't think of him as a person.
"The picture is clear – six people acting together killing a man in circumstances that amount to murder."
The trial continues.