A man has been found guilty of the murder of Suel Delgado and the attempted murder of two of Suel’s friends who were enjoying a night out in Brighton in December 2019.
After more than 16 hours of deliberating, the jury found Iftekhar Khondaker, 34, guilty of murder and two counts of attempted murder. His brother Irfan Khondaker, 27, was found guilty of assisting an offender by helping his brother escape the scene of the crime.
The court heard that Suel, 20, from Crawley and a group of his friends were out celebrating a birthday in Brighton when they became involved in an argument with brothers Iftekhar and Irfan Khondaker. As they walked along the seafront road towards the Pier in the early hours of Sunday 1 December, the group were captured on CCTV involved in a minor scuffle. This continued as they walked along Marine Parade by the Sea Life centre, before concluding and both groups parting company.
The Khondaker brothers then went to their large BMW X6 SUV which was parked nearby, and wanting to prove they had won the fight, Iftekhar deliberately drove the vehicle at speed into the group as they crossed the road, injuring the three friends. Suel was fatally injured and later died in hospital. His two friends, Zakir, 19, and Azaan Khan, 23, who are cousins, also received life threatening injuries, but thanks to the skills and medical expertise of doctors, they both survived. Both however, have been left with life changing injuries from the attack.
The Khondaker brothers made no attempt to stop or help his victims as they lay in the street, whilst stunned witnesses to the attack watched in horror. They drove to Middle Street in the town centre, where they dumped their badly damaged vehicle before calling a an taxi and returning to their home.
A murder investigation was launched by the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, and the occupants of the vehicle were quickly identified. Iftekhar was arrested later that day, whilst his brother handed himself into police a few days later. A thorough search of the extensive crime scene was carried out, resulting in hours of CCTV being reviewed as well as hundreds of forensics exhibits being produced. Police were able to link both brothers to the vehicle at the time of the collision, placing Iftekhar in the driver’s seat.
During their trial, both bothers, of Caithness Road, Mitcham, admitted to being in the vehicle at the time, claiming they were scared following the earlier fight and didn’t see the group as they were crossing the road. Iftekhar denied murder, but admitted causing death by dangerous driving. A jury however after hearing all evidence, believed Iftekhar intended to cause the friends serious injury by deliberately driving into them, and knowing that was the case, his brother had knowingly helped him to flee the area.
Detective Chief Inspector Chris Friday of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, who led the investigation said: “Our thoughts at this time are with the family and friends of all those affected by this. Although Suel paid the ultimate price, this terrible act will have a lasting effect on his friends and their families who survived or witnessed this attack. I hope that we have provided some answers as to how Suel met his death, and crucially who was responsible. Ultimately, we sought to identify who committed what is the most serious crime of all. I would like to thank the jury for their time, commitment and due diligence in bringing about this verdict.
“From the moment that this incident was reported this has been a fast moving and dynamic investigation, where my team worked tirelessly over many days, collating all evidence from the scene and securing evidence to charge them both. This took many days, during which I am aware Marine Parade was closed to traffic. I realise this was inconvenient for many, and I am grateful to the public in their understanding and cooperation. I would like to recognise the courage of the witnesses who came forward to support us in achieving this result and to also thank the jury for their time, commitment and due diligence in bringing about this verdict.”