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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 March, 2003, 17:58 GMT
Iranian died 'defending friends'
Peyman Bahmani
Mr Bahmani died from a single stab wound to the chest

An asylum seeker was stabbed to death in the street as he helped defend his friends' homes against racist attacks, a court heard on Tuesday.

Peyman Bahmani, an Iranian living in Sunderland, "froze with fear" as 18-year-old Steven Roberts strode towards the group gripping a blade in each hand, Newcastle Crown Court was told.

Mr Roberts, the jury heard, fatally plunged one of the weapons into Mr Bahmani's chest, slashing at the sleeve of his shirt with the other.

As the 30-year-old bled heavily from his wounds, he begged friends to leave him outside "so that they can see that I am dying", the court heard.

Mr Roberts, of Morvenside, Edinburgh, denies murdering Mr Bahmani in August 2002.

He has admitted a further charge of affray relating to an alleged incident earlier the same day involving Mr Bahmani and his friend Peyman Gahanbari.

Bricks were thrown

Prosecuting counsel Paul Sloan QC, said Mr Bahmani had planned to leave Wearside for Brighton on 27 August 2002, but put back the journey.

Mr Sloan said: "In all likelihood, but for that postponement, he would still be alive today."

The jury was told Mr Bahmani was with his friends when they were visited by Mr Roberts and another man, Joseph Rutherford, who allegedly threatened him and Mr Gahanbari with a knife.

Later bricks were thrown at the doors and windows of the house, the jury heard.

Mr Sloan added: "At this point it would seem that the Iranians decided that if they did not stand up to their attackers, they would forever be vulnerable to attack and become prisoners in their own home."

He said some of the asylum seekers emerged from the house, armed with two crutches, at which point an argument with neighbours ensued.

But Mr Roberts had been "busy re-arming himself" and emerged from the house with two knives, causing the group of Iranians to flee back towards their house, the jury heard.

Mr Sloan said: "However, Peyman Bahmani seemed to hesitate and froze. That momentary hesitation probably cost him his life.

"Mr Roberts deliberately thrust both his hands forward and stabbed Peyman Bahmani in the upper chest with the knife he was holding in his right hand.

"Peyman Bahmani had done nothing to warrant the attack."

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