Mohamed Abdullahi and, below, his father Aydarus Ahmed speaking at the London Irish Centre [Pic: Andy Gbortmittah]
Published: 4 April, 2014
By ALICE HUTTON
THE father of murder victim Mohamed Abdullahi has been presented with a “peace award” by the Somalian community after urging unity, support, education and forgiveness for London’s “lost young people” – including his son’s killers.
On the day three men were given life sentences for stabbing the 20-year-old student to death in York Way last June, Aydarus Ahmed spoke at the Somali Youth Development and Resource Centre’s 13th annual Education and Achievement Awards.
In front of hundreds of the borough’s top academic achievers in GCSE and key stage 3 exams, as well as MP Frank Dobson, council leader Sarah Hayward and mayor Jonathan Simpson, the father-of-seven asked the children in the room to make the country a better and safer place in which young people did not carry knives.
Mr Ahmed was praised by community leaders for his response in the hours after his son’s death in appealing against revenge attacks and for the subsequent community work and talks he has given in the nine months since his son died.
Mr Dobson called him “a grieving father who displays a nobility of nature that must be the envy of anyone who hears his terrible story”.
Mr Ahmed, who moved to Kentish Town from Somalia 20 years ago, said at the ceremony at the London Irish Centre on Thursday: “We are here tonight to encourage our children. In which way? To have a better education. So they need our support. We need to give our energy and time with them as well.
“They are the future of our country. To make a difference, to gain a peace in our country. So my son is gone, but there are millions of Somalians who live around the world. But to give them the support that they need from us. How? We need a unity to get together each one of us to make sure we get through the difficult times in our lives.”
The trial had heard details of unrest in the area with the jury told that shots were fired into one of the convicted men’s family home in Kentish Town in the hours before the stabbing.
Friends of those convicted insisted the whole truth of life in Kentish Town had not been reported properly during the trail and that they and relatives had been threatened during the legal proceedings. Comments were left on the New Journal’s website suggesting disagreements remain.
But Mr Ahmed said that he wanted to help young people realise they can get out of the cycle of disagreements and violence.
He said: “No one deserves to experience this kind of tragedy and loss. The pain that we are getting through it’s a wound that can never been healed. But we need to help each other to stop this kind of violence and tragedy. We need to educate our children to achieve better in the future and live in a safer environment with love to grow up our children.
“The question is: why are they on the streets? Twenty years ago life was so different, you felt safer on the streets. But now, I don’t know what happened but people are changing, especially the young people.
“There are so many reasons, so many different ways they hang out on the streets. But at the same time, if we don’t give our help and support they are going to get lost forever. They need our support.
“It is not only black and white, Somali or English or whatever, it is the whole community. If we come together and help them get through, they might have a better life.
“In the future I hope that people like them will make the change in this country. If they get the right support, the right help and the right advice, maybe we can take them off the streets.”
He added that after Mohamed died he remembered a conversation they had had about why he wanted to study criminology at Middlesex University, and was taken aback.
“He was good with maths and IT and at secondary school at Acland Burghley he was one of 10 students who were selected to do work experience,” he said.
“He was working in Canary Wharf, one of the Swiss banks, for two weeks. And he came back to me and he said: ‘You know the boss tell me that after my education they will train me and I’m going to work as a broker.’
“And I was expecting him to go ahead with it, but he changed it to criminology. When I asked him he said: ‘I just want to help those who are misjudged.”
‘Brutal’ attack launched after drive-by shooting
THREE men convicted of murdering a young man from Kentish Town in a case of mistaken identity have been jailed for a total of 71 years at the Old Bailey.
The court had heard that the killing of Mohamed Abdullahi in June last year was sparked by the “insult” of a drive-by shooting in Kentish Town, which remains unsolved by the police.
Around 10.30pm on June 28 at least five revolver rounds were fired into Dean Winston’s family home.
The 20-year-old joined with childhood friends Kyle Sober Froud, 19, and Calvin Collins, 19, in search of the perpetrators, allegedly with the help of a taxi driver, the trial heard.
They found Mr Abdullahi, a former Acland Burghley student, buying food for his family at a take-away in York Way, on the corner with Camden Road, just after 1am.
They dragged their victim, who they had grown up with in the Camden area and knew by the nickname “Lefty”, out of Aspendos Grill and stabbed him three times in front of terrified onlookers.
The 20-year-old criminology undergraduate student died in the arms of his brother-in-law after the blade pierced his heart.
He was described in court as the “wrong man” by Judge Richard Hone QC. The trial had been told previously that the victim tested positive for small traces of gun shot residue but he was cleared of the earlier shooting after mobile phone grids placed him at least one mile away at the time.
Winston and Collins were found guilty last week after a five-week trial and sentenced to a minimum of 24 years on Thursday.
Sober Froud, of Bloomsbury, was jailed for 23-and-a-half years, a six-month reduction in his sentence after pleading guilty during the opening speeches on the second day of the trial.
Their defence had been that they were only “sending a message” and had not intended to kill, but the judge described the murder as a “brutal” attack on an unarmed man.
Mohamed’s father, Aydarus Ahmed, revealed in a victim impact statement on behalf of the family how he had struggled mentally and physically to cope with the loss of his only son he described as a 6ft “gentle giant”.
Mr Ahmed said that Mohamed’s brother-in-law, Jahlil Carrington, “has had to try and deal with seeing Mohamed die in his arms”.
He added: “He continues to blame himself for not being able to prevent Mohamed’s death.
“Losing Mohamed has left a big hole in our family and our hearts. Our once-happy home will never be the same.”