Cardiff hitmen hacked schoolboy to death

Aamir Siddiqi, 17, was murdered on his doorstep. Picture: PA
Aamir Siddiqi, 17, was murdered on his doorstep. Picture: PA
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The devastated family of a schoolboy murdered in a bungled Mafia-style hit have said they do not want revenge for his death.

Iqbal and Parveen Siddiqi said they were content to see “justice done” as the men responsible for hacking down their son were finally found guilty.

Ben Hope and Jason Richards displayed no emotion as the verdict was read out at Swansea Crown Court. Both were found guilty of murdering 17-year-old Aamir Siddiqi and attempting to murder his parents when they intervened.

Aamir’s family let out a small whoop of joy as the guilty verdicts were read out.

Hope and Richards will be jailed for life at the same court next Friday when judge Mr Justice Royce will set a “substantial” minimum term.

The attack, which happened when the men went to the wrong address, took place on a quiet Sunday afternoon in Roath, Cardiff, south Wales, in April 2010.

Balaclava-clad Hope, 39, and Richards, 38, both from Cardiff, were each paid £1,000 in “blood money” to murder a middle-aged family man, who owed money to a shady businessman.

But the hitmen murdered the teenager instead when they visited the wrong address. The intended target escaped with his life as a result.

“I think that they have done something very sinister,” Mr Siddiqi said yesterday.

“Since these verdicts, we feel that justice has been done. We do not want revenge, or to feel bad towards anybody, but when someone has done something so bad, they should be punished.”

But Mr Siddiqi added: “With his departure, life has become very empty and somewhat meaningless. Aamir was everything in my life.”

His wife, Parveen Siddiqi added: “Aamir was a boy that everybody thought well of. He was bright and polite. The day Aamir was murdered, he had just asked if I wanted tea.”

Umbareen Siddiqi, 33, the teenager’s sister, paid tribute to her brother outside court, describing the attack on him as “callous and vicious”.

She said: “Today’s guilty verdict is the right one and as a family we are both delighted and relieved.”

Ms Siddiqi said that within seconds of the attack on her brother and parents, the world for the family had been transformed for ever.

Ms Siddiqi added: “The world has moved on in almost three years since the murder but for us the attack is as fresh as if it happened yesterday.

“Aamir was a beautiful person with a bright future. If he was still with us he would be looking forward to turning 21 this year and completing a law degree.” Ms Siddiqi continued: “He was the heartbeat of our family but his warmth, love, affection and humour touched many, many more people.”

Family comments on the effects of the murder were echoed by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). Catrin Evans, of the CPS, said: “Aamir’s life was cruelly taken from him in a brutal knife attack committed by Jason Richards and Ben Hope. At the same time, they inflicted very serious injury on Aamir’s parents, as they tried to protect their son.”

She continued: “Aamir’s family have shown remarkable dignity and fortitude throughout a lengthy criminal justice process.”

Detective superintendent Paul Hurley, of the South Wales Police specialist crime investigations team, added: “Aamir Siddiqi was a kind and talented young man who had a bright future ahead of him.

“He continues to be sorely missed by his family and all those fortunate to have known him.

“Despite being left totally devastated at losing their beloved son and brother in such tragic circumstances, Aamir’s loving family have shown tireless strength and remarkable dignity throughout this ordeal.”

He concluded: “South Wales Police would like to thank Aamir’s family for their support, all the prosecution witnesses, and the community for ensuring the successful outcome here today at Swansea Crown Court.”