Man jailed for killing friend

28/02/2013

Rahman Saidi, 47, who was found guilty of killing his friend and then stealing his life savings, which he would later gamble away in a casino, has been sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment at Birmingham Crown Court of his murder.

The body of Mirawdali Bakhtiar was discovered in a hostel in Handsworth, Birmingham where he lived and worked as a live-in caretaker on 1 February 2012, the day he was due to have flown back to Iraq to get married.

CCTV and forensic analysis provided key evidence in identifying the defendant who was arrested and later charged with murder.

James Jenkins, Sector Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, said:

"The victim and the defendant had known each other for some years. The victim trusted Rahman Saidi and he therefore divulged to him his plans to leave the United Kingdom and return back to Iraq to get married. The defendant also became aware of the large amount of money which the victim had on him for his wedding. 

"Saidi would abuse this trust for his own greed.

"On the eve of his departure back to Iraq, Saidi was with the victim in his flat. He was the last person to see him alive. 

"A concerned resident of the hostel, who had not seen the victim for a few days, visited his room to investigate whether he was OK. The door was unlocked and as he entered the room he saw the body of Mr Bakhitar lying in a pool of blood. The emergency services were then called.

"Investigations were carried out and Saidi was immediately identified as a person of interest. CCTV footage was obtained to track his movements on the day of the murder and it showed him attending the Grosvenor Casino, Birmingham, where, through his own admission, he gambled a large amount of money. Saidi is known to have a gambling habit but has no known source of regular income. He was unable to provide an explanation as to where he had obtained the substantial amount of money which he had gambled that evening.

"As soon as Saidi became aware of the large amount of cash which the victim had, he hatched a plot to steal this money. Unfortunately, this plot ultimately led to the death of Mr Bakhitar.

"Saidi tried to evade arrest and created a web of lies to try and avoid justice. Yesterday as the  jury rejected his defence, he was found guilty of murder and been sentenced for his crime.

"Thanks to the hard work of the West Midlands police and the CPS team which dealt with the preparation of the case and the conduct of the trial, the defendant has now been convicted and sentenced to a lengthy period of imprisonment.

"Our thoughts today are with the family and friends of Mr Bakhtiar."