Three teenagers found guilty of murder - Kempston

10/04/2014

Three teenagers have today, Thursday, 10 April 2014, been found guilty of the murder of Kempston pensioner Sharif Demirsay in May 2013.

Sharif, aged 65, who was a father of seven, and grandfather of 12 grandchildren, was stabbed to death in his bungalow at Vineyard Way, Kempston, Bedford.  His partner of 20 years was also injured during the burglary.

Courtney Glynn, aged 19, from Kempston, Muhammed Rashed, aka Biggie, aged 17, from Bedford, and Hameedur Rahman aka Hamid, aged 16, from Bedford were found guilty of murder by a jury at Luton Crown Court after a seven week trial. They were also found guilty of grievous bodily harm (GBH) against Sharif's 69-year-old partner Parshini Sulhotra.

In addition to the murder and GBH, Glynn and Rashed were found guilty of aggravated burglary in relation to the incident.  Rahman had already pleaded guilty to the aggravated burglary. 

Glynn was also found guilty of witness intimidation, and possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. He had shown one of the young witnesses in the case a gun, fired it and told him: "This is what happens to snitches."

Travis Dixon Charles, aged 18, from Kempston was found not guilty of all counts and was discharged from court.

The murder happened on the evening of 14 May, when Sharif answered a knock on the door to find three hooded young men outside armed with knives. They pushed their way through the door and demanding gold and money, brutally stabbed him 11 times and repeatedly kicked him.

When his long term partner Parshini tried to bravely intervene by hitting them with a vacuum cleaner extension pipe, she was stabbed through the arm and kicked. She told the teenagers to take her money and jewellery from her handbag, which they did before fleeing. Within minutes, Sharif died from a stab wound to the heart despite the efforts of neighbours, relatives and emergency services to save his life.

A breakthrough in the investigation came when some of Parshini's jewellery was found in a teenage boy's bedroom in September 2013. It had been given to the 14-year-old for safe keeping by his friend Hamid, who told him he had been involved in the incident. The jewellery had been discovered by accident by another member of the family and the police alerted.

The four teenagers were charged after a four and half month investigation as false alibis were broken, hundreds of hours of CCTV from all over Kempston was viewed, and social media was tracked.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved the tragic death of 65-year-old Kempston man Sharif Demirsay.

"These three teenagers acted together to attack the victim and inflict serious injury and none of them attempted to render assistance once the injuries had been caused.  This was a premeditated and carefully planned aggravated burglary with fatal consequences.

"This case represents a tragedy for the family of Sharif.  His family and friends have been devastated by his untimely death.  I would like to pay tribute to Sharif's family for their wholehearted support of this investigation and the dignity they have displayed while hearing the horrific details of how Sharif was killed.  I would also like to thank the witnesses, who came forward and gave evidence in very difficult circumstances.

"We have worked closely with Bedfordshire Police since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved.

"We know that nothing will bring Sharif back to his family and friends, but we hope that today's convictions bring them at least a small sense that justice has been done. Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time."

Detective Inspector Tim Redfearn, who led the investigation said: "It's hard to make any sense of this crime at all. The needless level of violence used and the ferocity and merciless nature of it for so little gain beggars belief, even for an experienced murder detective. The killers didn't give either one of the couple a chance to hand over what money they did have before launching into this appalling attack.

"Parshini and Sharif were two kind, much-loved, family-orientated people living quiet lives in a modest home. Parshini showed the utmost bravery; even as her partner was stabbed in front of her, she tried to fight off the robbers with the first thing that came to hand. She has lost her partner, her home and her peace of mind. The consequences for this large family have been utterly devastating.

"I am satisfied with the result today and hope it in some way helps Sharif's family move to the next part of their recovery process. They have been unstinting in the support they have given to Parshini and to the police investigation. I also want to thank my own team for their commitment, dedication and determination, as well as all the other professionals and members of the community who enabled us to bring Glynn, Rashed and Rahman to justice."

All three teenagers will appear at Luton Crown Court for sentencing tomorrow, Friday, 11 April 2014.