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The murder trial that ended in yet more violence

In Europe
June 10, 2024

Not half an hour earlier, a jury had handed down its verdicts. The trial had been tense. It had taken its toll on the families in court.

In an eruption of emotion and bitterness, a mass brawl had broken out yards from Manchester Crown Court. It was an ugly scene as the murder trial of Badri Issa ended in fury.

Weeks later, as a killer learned his fate, the judge in the case had a simple message to those involved: “This cycle of violence must end.”

Here, court reporter Amy Walker looks back at a trial defined by hostility and the ‘peacemaker’ at its centre…

READ MORE: Murderer jailed for life after stabbing peacemaker to death during fight

Eight people – including two youths – were arrested as police rushed to break-up the melee in Crown Square. It was the culmination of a difficult few weeks in court.

The public gallery was filled day after day. A young man was dead and the futures of two others hung in the balance. As jurors returned to court to deliver their verdicts, the families of those three men watched on.

Badri Issa -Credit:GMP

Badri Issa -Credit:GMP

Raami Mohamed – guilty of murder. Kevell Blake – not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter. As the courtroom emptied and people filed out into the street, things boiled over.

Bottles were launched and punches were thrown. No charges are understood to have been yet been brought against those involved.

It was the second controversy linked to the trial. Following the verdicts, police revealed Rijaan Mohamed – Raami’s brother – had been jailed after being caught recording the trial from the gallery.

The 27-year-old, of Fairy Lane, dropped his phone from the balcony. It was analysed as jurors were sent out, before it was discovered he’d been recording for more than 90 minutes. He was locked up for seven months having admitted contempt of court.

‘Peacemaker’

As the trial began in April, jurors were told there had been a ‘background of hostility’ between a friend of Badri’s – Omar Jeylaani – and murder accused Mohamed following a dispute over a Volkswagen Polo. An arrangement had been made for Mohamed to rent the car from a firm said to be linked to Mr Jeylaani.

But Mohamed didn’t pay the agreed sum and then said he was ‘going to keep the car’. On October 25 last year, Badri, who hoped to become a mechanical engineer, was heading to the gym with Mr Jeylaani when Mohamed gestured for them to pull over on Moss Lane East in Moss Side.

As the pair got in a stand-off, Badri, acting as a peacemaker, got in between them and told them to ‘chill’. As tensions rose, Mohamed pulled a knife and stabbed Badri in the chest.

Raami Mohamed -Credit:GMP

Raami Mohamed -Credit:GMP

He collapsed as the men continued their violent assault on Badri’s friend. The whole thing played out in broad daylight, with passers-by and commuters attempting to intervene.

Emergency services raced to the scene and Badri was taken to hospital, where he sadly died. Blake, 20, was accused of ‘assisting and encouraged’ Mohamed in the killing by prosecutors.

Greater Manchester Police‘ Major Incident Team launched an investigation in the wake of the tragedy. Detectives trawled hours of CCTV footage, building up a picture of the movements of those involved in the days before the attack.

The car Mohamed and Blake were in was found by a neighbourhood cop in a car park on Arrow Street, Salford. Forensics specialists found Badri’s blood near the gear stick.

Police and forensic officers on Moss Lane East -Credit:Manchester Evening News

Police and forensic officers on Moss Lane East -Credit:Manchester Evening News

Officers executed a warrant at Mohamed’s last know address on Fairy Lane, Cheetham Hill. He wasn’t there, but police were able to seize evidence linking him to the car. He was later arrested on Heaton Street in Prestwich.

Kevell Blake’s home was then raided. Police found clothing consistent with what they knew he’d been wearing hours after the attack. Analysis of phone data showed extensive contact between Mohamed and Blake in the hours leading to the attack.

At 6.05pm the day Badri died, their devices were in the same location. It is believed they were in the car together. An hour-and-a-half later, Badri was knifed.

Hours later, Mohamed and Blake, police say, appeared to meet at a house on Recreation Street. The next morning, detectives discovered Mohamed had been in contact with a solicitor in Birmingham. He had ordered a taxi to the solicitor’s business premises.

They pair were later charged. As the trial went on, the tension in the air was clear. Police had to stand outside the courtroom to ensure there was no disruption to the proceedings.

Police and forensic officers on Moss Lane East -Credit:Manchester Evening News

Police and forensic officers on Moss Lane East -Credit:Manchester Evening News

Families had to be kept separate, with extra officers drafted in to monitor the trial. As Mohamed gave evidence, he claimed Badri was the violent one, falsely claiming he brought the knife and that during a struggle, he wrestled it off him and used it in self-defence.

Jurors saw through his lies and convicted him of murder on May 9. This week, as Mohamed appeared at a sentencing hearing, trial judge Elizabeth Nicolls referenced the fight outside court.

“I am aware that unseeming and potentially criminal conduct occurred outside this court after the verdicts,” she said. “This is a case where there are no winners and at the centre of this tragedy is a young man who lost his life for no reason and those responsible for that must live with the guilty for the rest of their lives.

“Episodes of violence do nothing, they assist nobody. There was enough violence on October 25 brought about by anger. Do not repeat those mistakes, please behave with dignity and allow everyone to grieve in their own way for their losses.

“Badri Issa’s brother, Gulad, was right. Too many lives have been senselessly cut short. This cycle of violence must end.”

Mohamed, of Fairy Lane, was jailed for life, to serve a minimum term of 18 years in prison. Blake, of Bronshill Drive, will be sentenced on July 19.

‘More than just a son and brother’

In a tribute issued following the trial, Badri’s family said: “Badri was more than just a son and brother. He was a friend, a confidant, and a beacon of light in our family. His selflessness and unwavering commitment to peace and harmony were evident in every aspect of his life. He always believed in the power of dialogue and understanding, and he never hesitated to step in when he saw a wrong that needed to be righted.

“On that fateful day, Badri acted in accordance with his principles. He saw a situation escalating and knew that his intervention could prevent further harm. In a world where it is often easier to turn a blind eye, Badri chose to be a peacemaker. He chose to act, to step forward, and to try to defuse a potentially dangerous situation. It was in this courageous act that he was taken from us.

Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square -Credit:ABNM Photography

Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square -Credit:ABNM Photography

“Badri’s legacy is one of courage, compassion, and sacrifice. He was a true hero, and his actions on that day were a testament to his character. He gave his life trying to protect others, embodying the very essence of what it means to be selfless.

“Badri’s life, though cut short, made a profound impact on everyone who knew him. He will continue to inspire us to be better, to strive for peace, and to help those in need. We will remember him not for the way he died, but for the way he lived with integrity, kindness, and an unyielding commitment to making the world a better place. Always in our dua’s (act of supplication) daily.

“Badri’s memory will live on in the acts of kindness and bravery that each of us carries out in our daily lives.”

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Naismith from our Major Incident Team said: “Badri Issa was so young when he lost his life in the most tragic way. Having just graduated from university, he was on the cusp of starting a new life, a new career, and reaching new milestones. He paid the ultimate price for trying to de-escalate a situation.

“Since day one, Badri has been at the heart of our investigation, and we have had teams of officers working around the clock to find answers for his family. I know that no outcome will ever lessen the pain his family feel, but I hope that [the] sentencing goes some way to giving his loved ones some comfort knowing that his killers are behind bars.”

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