A man has today (July 27) been found guilty of murdering 16-year-old Sarmad Al-Saidi in Preston.
A 16-year-year-old boy had earlier pleaded guilty to Sarmad’s murder, while a 17-year-old boy has been found guilty of conspiring to commit the serious assault which led to his death.
Officers were called to the conservatory of an address in Chatham Place at 5.43pm on December 23 where Sarmad was found with multiple stab injuries to his chest and legs.
He was initially treated at the scene but was later transferred to hospital where he sadly died on the evening of December 27, having never regained consciousness.
Detectives launched a murder inquiry, which revealed the individuals who carried out the frenzied attack to be 19-year-old Jamie Dixon (pictured top right) and the 16-year-old boy, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.
They were assisted in the conspiracy by a 17-year-old boy, who also cannot be identified for legal reasons.
A jury at Liverpool Crown Court heard how earlier on the day of the fatal attack, the 17-year-old, had text Sarmad to find out his location under the guise of arranging a meeting to discuss a £25 debt.
As Dixon and the 16-year-old skulked around the corner for nearly an hour waiting for the green light to enter the conservatory, the 17-year-old went into the building to ensure Sarmad was unarmed.
The 17-year-old, who himself entered the conservatory with a baseball bat, convinced Sarmad to lay down his machete and then waited for a phone call from his co-conspirators so he could give the signal for them to proceed.
When they had received the signal from the 17-year-old that Sarmad (pictured bottom right) was unarmed, Dixon and the 16-year-old put on balaclavas went into the conservatory and stabbed their defenceless victim with a hunting knife and a machete.
Dixon and the 16-year-old then fled the scene with their weapons, around two minutes after they had entered the conservatory.
The 17-year-old stayed at the scene, pretending not to know the identity of Sarmad’s attackers – at one point even asking a witness to lie and say the baseball bat wasn’t his.
Around 15 minutes after the attack, Dixon received a phone call from a friend at a Young Offender’s Institution. During that call he boasted about how he had just “done” Sarmad.
Detectives later retrieved a video from the 16-year-old’s phone, recorded on the day of the attack, in which the defendant is seen waving around the murder weapon and talking about how he “stabbed Sarmad up”.
Evidence secured by officers showed the attack had been in the planning for a number of days.
The 17-year-old, who was initially treated as a witness, gave a statement to police saying how he was “chilling” in the conservatory with Sarmad when two unknown males pushed him out of the way and stabbed his friend. He was arrested on Christmas Day and initially gave a similar account to police, before changing his statement to say that he knew Dixon and the 16-year-old were the attackers but that they acted of their own volition and without any support from him.
The 16-year-old was arrested on Christmas Eve and initially said he was at home all night. He later changed his account and said he was involved in the attack on Sarmad but only wanted to hurt him and never intended to cause him any serious harm.
Dixon was also arrested on Christmas Eve and answered no comment to all questions put to him.
Today, at Liverpool Crown Court Dixon was unanimously found guilty of murder, while the 17-year-old was found not guilty of murder but guilty of conspiracy to commit Section 18 Assault.
Dixon, of Clayton Avenue, Leyland; the 16-year-old and the 17-year-old will be sentenced on September 30.
DCI Lee Wilson, of Lancashire Police’s Force Major Investigation Team, said: “This gratuitous and senseless violence has led to a family being robbed of their much loved and cherished son and our thoughts remain with them at this time. The courage and dignity Sarmad’s parents and their support of the police and legal team throughout the investigation and court process has been exemplary and serves as a fine testament to their late son.
“I welcome the decision of the jury and I am pleased these three individuals will now be held to account for their cowardly actions. I would like to thank all the officers, North West and Air Ambulance service and NHS colleagues who battled to save Sarmad’s life and the officers who conducted the investigation. I should also like to than colleagues from the Crown Prosecution Service and QC Mr Nicholas Clarke for their tireless work in helping to achieve these verdicts.
“This is a desperately tragic case, involving young males who decided to use weapons and a completely unacceptable level of violence to settle their differences. Those decisions have led to Sarmad – a 16-year-old boy who had his whole life ahead of him – losing his life, loving parents losing their son and those responsible now facing lengthy custodial sentences.
“I would ask anybody, particularly young males, to remember this case and Sarmad when they consider leaving the house with a weapon and the potentially devastating and fatal consequences that could bring. Violence can never be the answer and a matter of moments can ruin so many lives.”