Brother of man who was fatally wounded at home tells of loss

THE brother of a man who was fatally wounded in his home today paid tribute to him and said he cannot "put into words the devastation" the family are suffering.

Mohammad Idrees Mirza, 47, died at a ground-floor flat in Stenhouse Gardens North on Wednesday, 25 May, following an alleged disturbance.

Today his oldest brother, Ilyas, told of the indescribable pain and trauma affecting the family who finally laid their loved one to rest on Thursday.

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He also revealed that in his youth his brother had seen off two would-be robbers wielding knives at a West Prestonfield Street grocers in 1992.

About 400 mourners packed into Annandale Street Mosque to pay their last respects to the much-loved father-of-two who, it was said, "lived for his family". He was later buried at Portobello Cemetery.

Ilyas, 52, said: "It was a very large turnout. He was well known in the Muslim and Pakistani communities and throughout the city including many local people with whom he grew up."

The Mirza family have been living in the Capital for the last 44 years having emigrated from Lahore, Pakistan, in 1966.

Idrees, the third eldest of seven children, was just four years old when he arrived in Edinburgh and never moved away from the city.

A self-employed businessman, he recently went into partnership in a Dalkeith garage where he worked repairing and respraying car bodywork. Idrees lived in Stenhouse Gardens North for 15 years along with his wife Farzana, 47, and two sons Adil, 20, and Anis, 17. They had previously lived in Grove Street.

Since his death, Idrees' immediate family have been living at his brother's home, including his 71-year-old mother.

He said: "I'm the oldest and I am trying to keep everyone together. As a family we are all very strong and we have great belief in our faith.

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"It is very traumatic for everyone but we are comforting one another and trying to console one another. It's just so painful and caused so much hurt that it's impossible to describe."

He said his dead brother's wife and children were "in a very bad state" and that his mother was "completely devastated".

He added: "As a brother I feel so much pain but what my mother is dealing with is totally different. I cannot put into words how we have felt in these last seven or eight days."

In Islam, it is customary to bury the deceased within 24-hours, and Ilyas said the eight-day wait to hold the funeral was upsetting.

"That was very distressful for us but at the same time we knew that there was a criminal procedure that had to be completed and understood that the police had a job to do. The police have been co-operative and understanding."

Ilyas said his late brother was a "guy that would make friends with everyone" regardless of "colour, creed and religion" and would go out of his way to help anybody.

"I know that he adored his two boys and his family more than anything. His wife and children, and our extended family was his life. We have never felt such grave pain with his loss."

A 48-year-old man has appeared at Edinburgh Sheriff Court, charged with murder.