Page last updated at 17:25 GMT, Friday, 16 October 2009 18:25 UK

Man guilty of racist row killing

George Austin
George Austin punched Mohammed so hard that he fell on the pavement

A 22-year-old man has been found guilty of the manslaughter of a Qatari student during a racist row in East Sussex.

Mohammed al-Majed, 16, died after he was punched in the face and hit the pavement in Hastings on 22 August 2008.

George Austin, 22, of Barkworth Road, Bermondsey, south London, had denied his manslaughter at Lewes Crown Court.

Paul Rockett and Alexander Quinn were found guilty of racially aggravated common assault and wounding with intent in relation to attacks on two others.

Rockett, 21, of Ham Lane, Burwash, near Etchingham, had denied racially aggravated common assault in relation to an attack on Peter Henworth, aged 17.

Quinn, 19, of Mountbatten Close, Hastings, had denied wounding with intent and unlawful wounding in relation to an attack with a bottle on 14-year-old Mojeb Qatani.

Heated exchanges

Both victims were Mohammed's friends.

Mohammed was studying English at a language school in Hastings and had been staying with a family in the town for about five weeks before he died.

He was due to have returned home to Qatar a week later.

The three men will be sentenced following the completion of pre-sentence reports on 25 November.

Rockett and Quinn were released on bail but both have been fitted with electronic tags.

Jurors had been told the attack took place outside a kebab shop on Hastings seafront as some foreign language students were chatting.

Mohammed al-Majed
Mohammed had been living with a family in the town for five weeks

They were approached by a group of young white men and women, who had been drinking, while the language students in contrast were sober.

Insults were traded during heated exchanges, and Rockett had thrown a punch at Peter Henworth but missed.

He had targeted the teenager because he was black, the trial heard.

Mohammed was inside the kebab shop with his 16-year-old cousin and Mojeb Qatani.

Prosecutor Camden Pratt QC said that "unfortunately for Mohammed", Austin spotted him and punched him so hard in the face that it knocked him off his feet.

Mohammed died from brain injuries three days later.

What happened on that night was unforgivable and entirely unwarranted
Det Ch Insp Trevor Bowles, Sussex Police

Following the case, Mohammed's father, Abdulla al-Majed, said in a statement: "Mohammed Abdulla al-Majed, our boy, tragically lost his life just over a year ago.

"We believe that the right verdict was reached today."

Det Ch Insp Trevor Bowles, of Sussex Police, said it had been a "long and painstaking investigation which has taken officers across the world in search of the truth behind what happened".

He said the convictions sent out a clear message that violence would not be tolerated on the streets of Sussex.

"What happened on that night was unforgivable and entirely unwarranted."

Hastings Borough Council leader Peter Pragnell said the resort was not racist and steps had been taken since Mohammed's death to increase dialogue with the different members of the community.

"Incidents of hate crime have dropped, as the police will be able to confirm, and this year I'm delighted to report that more students than even last year are flocking here."

Scene of the attack in Hastings

Mohammed al-Majed had come to the UK to improve his English skills



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