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Last Updated: Sunday, 23 October 2005, 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK
'80 crimes' in night of violence
Lozells clashes
Bricks and bottles were thrown at police wearing riot gear
Police have begun a murder inquiry after violence in Birmingham in which a 23-year-old man was stabbed to death and 80 offences committed.

They said 35 people, including a police officer, were taken to hospital after clashes in Lozells on Saturday evening. Five people were arrested, said police.

On Sunday, detectives said they had found no evidence of an alleged rape that sparked the clashes.

Police also appealed for witnesses to hand in CCTV or mobile phone footage.

During the hour-long violence, a number of petrol bombs were thrown, and at least 12 gun shots were reported, officers said.


It followed a week of mounting tension among the black and Asian communities in the Lozells area following the alleged sexual assault on a 14-year-old girl.

Police said there was "a lot of rumour, myth and speculation" about the rape allegation but no victim had come forward.

They appealed again for the girl, who is said to be Jamaican, to contact them.

On Saturday police had to intervene when uninvited people started forcing their way into the New Testament Church of God during a meeting about the allegations.

This began a small series of events in Lozells Road which the police dealt with.

At 1900 BST what was described as "a series of sporadic, serious extreme incidents" occurred in the area of Carlyle Road, including the fatal stabbing of a local man.

Those clashes lasted until about 2015 BST.

NIGHT OF VIOLENCE
1745: Violence erupts outside a community meeting
1915: Police called out after two men stabbed. One man dies.
2115: A man is stabbed at Farcroft Hotel, Rookery Road
2130: In nearby Oxhill Road, reports of a man being shot and another man being stabbed at the Uplands pub
2200: Police officer shot in thigh by ball bearing fired from gun

The injured police officer, who was shot in the leg, is in a stable condition.

Nine people remained in hospital on Sunday evening. People hurt in the violence had been treated for injuries including stabbing and gunshot wounds, broken bones and a fractured skull.

Det Supt Dave Mirfield said a post-mortem examination on the murdered man was taking place.

He appealed for anyone with CCTV or mobile phone images to come forward and said drinkers at two public houses, the Uplands and the Farcroft, had also been caught up in the incidents.

Police said rumours had started about a week ago about a serious sexual assault on retail premises in the Lozells area.

A member of the community has made a second allegation of sexual assault at a similar retail premises some months ago.

'Significant police presence'

Five men have been arrested, interviewed and released on bail in relation to that case.

A significant police presence will be seen on the streets of Lozells and Handsworth on Sunday night but officers are appealing for calm.

Supt Tom Coughlan, operations manager for Lozells, said: "The people of Birmingham have a real opportunity to prove they can live peacefully.

"I have been very reassured by conversations held today and yesterday with the community and I know they want to get over these problems."

Earlier, community representatives spoke of the need for everyone to work together to bring calm to the area.

Spokeswoman Justice Williams said both Asian and black communities had been victims of the violence.

"Obviously, people are scared. Innocent people have been hurt so of course people are scared."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
CCTV of youths ransacking a shop during the riots



SEE ALSO:
Community condemns street clashes
23 Oct 05 |  West Midlands
Plea for calm after city clashes
23 Oct 05 |  West Midlands
Community with history of tension
23 Oct 05 |  West Midlands
All quiet on clash city's streets
23 Oct 05 |  West Midlands
Residents' fear during violence
23 Oct 05 |  West Midlands
In pictures: Birmingham clashes
23 Oct 05 |  In Pictures



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