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Background: Cardiff hitmen on trial for murder

An artists sketch of killers Jason Richards, left, and Ben Hope at Swansea Crown. Picture: PA

An artists sketch of killers Jason Richards, left, and Ben Hope at Swansea Crown. Picture: PA

  • by ANTONY STONE
 

The trial of Ben Hope and Jason Richards lifted the lid on a criminal underworld in Cardiff’s leafy suburbs.

A pretty Victorian park in a middle-class suburb was where the contract was taken out, the day before the botched hit.

The shady businessman who paid for the killing took his children along to add to the outward illusion of normality.

The chain of events that led to the murder of Aamir Siddiqi stemmed from an innocent house sale.

Mohammed Tanhai was the intended target of the doorstep murder and would probably be dead today had the killers got the right address.

Even before the murder, Mr Tanhai had lived in fear for his life after a simple plan to sell his home turned into a nightmare.

The businessman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had offered Mr Tanhai cash to take his property off the market. The move was supposed to have been a temporary measure to allow the businessman time to raise a mortgage for the purchase.

But over the next 18 months he handed over £50,000 in cash in part-payment for the property, refusing a receipt on each occasion.

When Mr Tanhai pushed for a proper settlement of the deal the businessman pulled out.

It is now thought the payments were made as an elaborate way of using Mr Tanhai in what was an unsuccessful attempt to launder drug money.

His inability to pay it back marked the start of a period of violence and intimidation which eventually forced the family to flee.

At the time of the murder, the family were living back at their Cardiff address unaware of the secret plan of violence already in motion.

In a bitter twist, the eventual victim was an innocent teenager whose life was cut short when he opened his front door.

 

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