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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 November 2005, 12:31 GMT
Life for 'white man' murder gang
Christopher Yates

Three Asian men who boasted of killing a white man have been jailed for life.

Christopher Yates, 30, was kicked in the head by the group outside the University of East London in Barking last November, the Old Bailey heard.

Sajid Zulfiqar was overheard saying they had killed a white man but the judge said it was not a racist crime.

Zulfiqar, 26, Zahid Bashir, 24, and Imran Maqsood, 22, from Ilford, east London, were convicted of murder and told they must serve at least 15 years.

Old Bailey judge Martin Stephens said the evidence did not show the attack was racially motivated.

'Drink-fuelled rampage'

"Between you that morning, you attacked people of all races, white, black and Asian," he said.

"These, in my judgment, were random attacks carried out on people who had the misfortune to come across you in your drink-fuelled rampage."

Det Ch Insp Tony Boxall, speaking after the sentencing, said: "Whether the motivation was racial, I think only the three defendants can tell us that."

The court earlier heard Mr Yates's head was stamped on and he died from multiple injuries to his face.

The victim, from Barking, described as a quiet, harmless man, wandered into the university where he had been a student after hearing music.

Sajid Zulfiqar, Imran Maqsood and Zahid Bashir

The court heard that after the attack Zulfiqar shouted, in Urdu: "We have killed the white man. That will teach an Englishman to interfere in Paki business."

Mr Leonard said the reason for the attack was unclear, but the defendants had been drinking all day.

"It was a ferocious attack," he said.

After attacking Mr Yates, the group, all unemployed British-born Pakistani men, moved on to Ilford where they shouted racial abuse at a black resident who remonstrated after they damaged vehicles and set off car alarms.

'Brutal and vicious'

An Asian member of staff was assaulted at a local curry house before Zulfiqar attacked another black man in a nearby street.

They were arrested a week later, after hiding in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, as they made plans to flee the country.

Mr Yates' father, Ivor, said the family was disappointed with the minimum sentence of 15 years.

"We had hoped for perhaps 18 or 20 years, mainly because it was an unprovoked attack, very brutal and vicious."

Moya Reed, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "This has been a difficult case but has been properly prosecuted and the result is the proper result."


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