Page last updated at 22:34 GMT, Monday, 25 August 2008 23:34 UK

Student, 16, dies after assault

A murder inquiry has been launched following the death of a 16-year-old student from Qatar who was attacked in a seaside town in East Sussex.

Mohammed Al-Majed suffered a head injury in an attack outside a take-away in Hastings on Friday night.

The teenager, who had spent five weeks in Hastings, died at Kings College Hospital in London on Sunday. He was due to return home next weekend.

Sussex Police said they were treating it as a racially-motivated murder.

Three men, aged 17, 18 and 20, have been arrested and released on police bail pending further inquiries.

'Extremely shocked'

The attack happened during an altercation shortly before midnight between the teenager and his friends and a group of local youths outside the USA Fried Chicken and Kebab House, at the junction of Robertson Street and the seafront.

Dr Remi Tanriverdi, 43, who owns the shop, said: "I was cleaning when it happened. A boy called my name, put a mobile in my hand and said call the police."

Mohammed was a student at EF International Language Schools in White Rock, Hastings.

His family are understood to have flown to England.

Director of operations at the school Bev Garth said: "We are extremely shocked and saddened by the news that one of our students from Qatar has tragically passed away following an attack upon him on Friday night.

"We are working closely together with the police and assisting them fully to support their investigations.

"Our deepest sympathies at this very difficult time remain with the student's family."

'Scared now'

Fellow student at the school, Abdullah Ababtain, 19, from Saudi Arabia, said foreign pupils were now fearful of further trouble.

"I think what happened is so bad. All the people when they come to study English next year may not choose here, because there are problems," he said.

"I get scared now. I told my host family I want to stay at home."

Det Ch Insp Graham Pratt, who is leading the investigation, has appealed for any witnesses to the incident to contact the police.

He added that police patrols had been increased in the area and they were working with language schools to reassure students.

More than 30,000 foreign language students visit Hastings and the neighbouring Rother area each summer.


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