Matthew Cooper, PAThu, 11 February 2021, 5:17 pm
An accountant and his father have been found guilty of mistakenly killing their own relative with a crossbow – and murdering a cannabis farm burglar seconds later.
Omar Ramzan, his father Saghawat Ramzan and family friend Mohammed Sageer were all unanimously found guilty of murdering kickboxer Khuzaimah Douglas.
A three-week trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court was shown CCTV footage of the moment Saghawat Ramzan shot his brother Waseem Ramzan in the stomach with the “horrific” crossbow during a four-on-one punishment beating intended to kill or maim Mr Douglas.
A second bolt travelling at 270ft-per-second was fired at Mr Douglas less than a minute later, causing fatal internal injuries.
Jurors also convicted Saghawat Ramzan of murdering his brother, who was mistakenly hit by a bolt aimed at 19-year-old Mr Douglas.
Omar Ramzan and Edinburgh-born Sageer were cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter in relation to Waseem Ramzan’s death.
Saghawat Ramzan, 47, Lancaster University graduate Omar Ramzan, 24, and 33-year-old Edinburgh-born Sageer all claimed to have been acting in self-defence when the victims were killed.
Mr Douglas, 19, was shot while being held on the ground and died at the scene outside the Ramzans’ home in Pensnett Road, Brierley Hill, Dudley, in the early hours of February 20 last year.
Waseem Ramzan, 36, died in hospital after the bolt that struck him was removed and hidden near the scene.
The defendants were charged with murder after police recovered CCTV footage from cameras set up to protect the cannabis farm from raids by rival gangs.
All three defendants denied any knowledge of the cannabis farm, with Saghawat Ramzan claiming he feared the burglars were targeting his home containing Cartier and Rolex watches.
Opening the Crown’s case last month, prosecutor Adrian Keeling QC said the property was being used to grow cannabis worth up to £225,000 a year.
Telling jurors a rival gang had attacked the rear of the cannabis factory at about 2.30am, Mr Keeling said of Saghawat and Omar Ramzan: “Despite the time of night, these two defendants were immediately aware of the attack and the fact it was taking place.”
CCTV initially captured Saghawat Ramzan firing a crossbow at the rear of the cannabis factory, but he missed would-be intruders, striking a shed.
Finance worker Omar Ramzan, who graduated in 2018 with a first class BSc in accounting and management studies, was caught on CCTV brandishing a knife and a smaller crossbow, as well as holding down Mr Douglas.
Sageer drove to Pensnett Road to join efforts to protect the drug-growing operation after a nine-second phone call from Waseem Ramzan.
CCTV which Saghawat Ramzan tried to delete showed Sageer, of Gorsty Avenue, Brierley Hill, arriving at the scene and handling a second crossbow during the fatal struggle.
The court heard Omar Ramzan was off work with “anxiety and depression” at the time of the incident.
At the start of the trial, Mr Keeling told the jury: “They sprang into violent defence of the drug-growing operation.
“Rather than let them (the rival gang) retreat into the night, they blocked their retreat and effectively boxed the raiders into the house.
“The raiders had no real choice but to smash a window at the front of the house… and try to get away.”
Mr Douglas, the court heard, had the “fatal misfortune” to be caught by Waseem Ramzan while attempting to flee.
Saghawat Ramzan, who was already holding a sword, went back into the house to arm himself with a large crossbow.
Mr Keeling told the court that as Mr Douglas struggled to fend off four assailants, Saghawat Ramzan fired the first of two crossbow bolts.
The barrister told jurors: “He didn’t need to do so. He fired the bolt from almost point-blank range and, in doing that, he must have intended at least really serious harm, if not to kill.”
Waseem Ramzan suffered a wound to his flank, which caused massive blood loss and severe injuries to multiple internal organs.
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Munro, of West Midlands Police, said around a dozen raiders had tried to break into the rear of the cannabis factory.
He said: “Unbeknown to them, the people that had a vested interest in that property, and the cannabis being grown there, lived next door and in a neighbouring property just up the road.
“They became aware of the burglary taking place and chose to come out of their address armed with crossbows and swords.
“They then sought to carry out an attack on the burgling group, during which a crossbow was initially discharged across the garden, in our belief as a warning shot.
“It (the CCTV) clearly shows a sustained, brutal attack, which was one of punishment, in my belief.”
All three defendants were remanded in custody and will face mandatory life terms when they are sentenced on March 12.