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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 November 2007, 12:44 GMT
'This pain will never leave me'
By Chris Summers
BBC News

"This pain is never going to leave me. This pain is going to go on until the day I leave this world. I'm not the same person as I was when Sabina was alive. I am in pain all the time."

VICTIM OF GUN CRIME
Sabina Rizvi
Name: Sabina Rizvi
Age: 20
Date: 20 March 2003
Place: Bexleyheath, Kent

As she wipes away the tears, there is no doubting the sincerity of Iffat Rizvi's words.

Her daughter Sabina was shot dead in the early hours of 20 March 2003 after being caught up in a dispute over a car.

Sabina grew up in Croydon, south London, the eldest of three children.

Mrs Rizvi, a social worker who was born a Sikh and married a Muslim builder, says they were not a "traditional" Asian family, but their children were brought up believing in one God and sharing the "humanity" of all the major religions.

"Sabina was a very beautiful girl who could not walk down the street without people gawking at her. She was very fashion-conscious and she loved music, especially soul and garage," said her mother.

"She was very ambitious. She wanted to become a music promoter but she also wanted to promote boxers and models. She had a very high IQ."

Fateful decision

For a time she promoted a south London rap group called SMS.

But Sabina struggled to launch a career as a promoter, so she also looked into the possibility of buying a mobile phone shop in Greenwich.

She persuaded her mother to lend her 15,000, but the deal was delayed and Sabina took the fateful decision to instead spend the money on an Audi TT sports car which she had had her eye on.

Iffat Rizvi
Sabina wanted a successful career but she also wanted to get married and have children... but they have taken that from her
Iffat Rizvi

Mrs Rizvi said: "I was a bit disappointed by her. I wanted her to become independent by starting a business, but she had already spent the money.

"But it was a lovely car and I could see why she bought it."

But things were about to turn ugly.

Sabina had given the 15,000 to her on-off boyfriend Mark Williams, and he had come back with the car and the documents.

But the police then contacted Sabina and said someone had reported the car as stolen.

Sabina was dumbstruck and insisted she had paid for it, and had all the documentation to prove it.

But she agreed to go to Bexleyheath police station in south-east London to discuss the car.

She arrived at 6pm but matters dragged on, and it was not until 2am that she and Williams were finally able to leave, having been forced to leave the Audi behind pending further inquiries.

As Sabina drove off, in Williams' car, they were tailed by two other cars. They had travelled only a short distance when the first car pulled up alongside and several shots were fired.

"The first shot went through her neck and cut all her arteries. More shots were fired and she crashed into a parked car," said Mrs Rizvi.

Shattering blow

As the killers sped off, police officers arrived on the scene.

Mrs Rizvi said: "One of them had just been dealing with her and he recognised her and called her by her name. He squeezed her hand and apparently Sabina squeezed his hand once, twice, but not a third time."

Paul Asbury
Paul Asbury, who claimed the Audi TT belonged to him, was jailed for life

Williams survived despite suffering two bullet wounds to the head.

Mrs Rizvi was about to leave for work that morning when the police arrived at her home in Mitcham, south London, and told her they had some bad news.

"When they said Sabina was dead, I said: 'What do you mean she's dead? She was in the police station last night.' I ran upstairs to my husband and my son and I said; 'What are they saying?' I couldn't believe it was true."

It was a shattering blow for the Rizvi family, who are still struggling to come to terms with their loss.

Sabina's father Pervaaiz, known to all as Pete, fell rapidly into an abyss of grief and depression. He began drinking heavily and when he contracted cancer the following year, he decided he did not want to be operated on.

Mr Rizvi died in September 2004, shortly before the trial of Paul Asbury, one of the men who killed Sabina.

Drug dealer

Asbury was jailed for life at the Old Bailey but several others - including the man who fired the fatal shots - have not yet been brought to justice.

Mrs Rizvi, who has herself overcome cancer, said: "Sabina wanted a successful career but she also wanted to get married and have children. She wanted all that but they have taken that from her."

What Mrs Rizvi did not know at the time of her daughter's death was that Williams was a drug dealer who specialised in robbing other dealers in south London.

Williams was actually wearing a bullet-proof vest when he arrived at Bexleyheath police station that night - it was confiscated by the police.

The trial heard that Williams later admitted to police he had stolen the Audi TT at gunpoint.

Asbury was a member of a gang based on the notorious Thamesmead estate which was determined to wreak revenge against Williams. Sabina was an innocent caught in the cross-fire.

Police never found the 9mm weapon used in the shooting.

Campaigner

Since her daughter's death, Mrs Rizvi has become a committed anti-gun campaigner.

She has set up a charity, Sabina's Trust Against Revolvers and Racism (Starr), and regularly meets young people to gather information and educate them on the dangers of gun culture.

"A lot of people think that if they carry a gun they will be able to protect themselves, but if they carry a gun they will end up taking someone else's life and they will end up behind bars," she said.

The Metropolitan Police recently offered a 20,000 reward seeking information leading to the convictions of Sabina's killers. Anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room on 020 8721 4868. Alternatively, if you want to remain anonymous, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.



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