A murdered father-of-four had his ears sliced off with a machete by a gang of five during a family feud that had sparked 41 calls to police in six months, a court heard today.
Sajed Choudry, 42, died after two weeks in a coma following a row in the street near his home in Blackburn on November 27 last year.
Rafaqat Ali, 38, Sadaqat Ali, 36, Syed Ali Akbar, 43, Fazal Ilahi, 62, and a teenager who can not be identified for legal reasons, are jointly charged with his murder.
They are also accused of the attempted murder and GBH of his son Ahsan who almost had his arm severed with a knife in an attack caught on CCTV.
Mr Choudry had been rowing with the Ali family for months, who lived nearby in the Lancashire town, before the feud escalated to violence, Preston Crown Court was told.
His rival head of the family, Sadaqat Ali, 36, had been arrested three days before the murder for smashing Ahsan Choudry, 24, over the head with a bar in the street.
While in custody, Ali’s wife saw another son of Mr Choudry, Mohsan, 20, approach her husband’s car and slash one of the tyres, which led to his arrest, the jury was told.
Three days later, after his release from custody, Ali and four others gathered with an array of weapons including knives, an axe and blocks of wood and cornered Mr Choudary.
He suffered slash wounds to the side of his head with a machete, severing his ears, before the weapon was also swung but missed the victim’s terrified wife.
Sajed Choudry, 42, was left in a coma (pictured) after the violent assault on him and and his son in late November but died two weeks later. While in a coma he had a 14-hour operation to re-attach his ears using skin from his legs but did not survive
Mr Choudry (pictured) had been involved in a feud with a rival family, the Alis, going back months
Preston Crown Court heard of long running friction between the Ali and Chaudry families between May and November 2018.
Lancashire Police logs recorded 41 separate complaints in the months leading up to Mr Chaudry’s death.
On November 27, Ahsan Chaudry said he left his home to meet a friend, who was parked nearby.
As he got into the passenger seat, someone tried to open the door.
Mr Chaudry said in a police interview played to court today: ‘I could see something was up his sleeve. I didn’t get out of the car, I just got on the phone to the police, I said, “listen I’m about to get attacked, the guy is harassing me, coming outside the car”.
‘The first thing that came into my head was my dad, my mum and my brother.
‘I came out into the street. I could see there was a few people there near the park, walking up the steps. My dad’s outside, and my mum.’
Ahsad Chaudry said he tried to get to his father, but as he approached he started to feel blows to his head.
He said: ‘They hit my dad first. I didn’t know it was a machete or anything like that. I thought it was a bat. At that time I started to get hit, my dad was falling on the floor.
‘I’m looking at him and he is getting attacked by two people and I am getting attacked by two people.’
Mr Chaudry said he felt blood running down his head and ran back to his house.
He was chased to the door, which he shut behind him, but heard banging on the door.
Fearful for his father, who was still outside, Mr Chaudry went back outside the house.
As his attacker turned towards him with the machete raised, Ahsan put his hands up to protect himself.
He said: ‘My hand’s come off. Most of my hand’s come off. That’s when I realised it was a knife.’
Mr Chaudry said he went back inside the house, and his family went indoors.
He said: ‘I could see and hear what was going on but I couldn’t breathe really. I felt like I was going to go. I just started praying, thinking I’m going to die right now.’
His killers met up met up in Rhyl Avenue, Blackburn, pictured, on the late evening of November 27 last year armed with pieces of wood, an axe and a machete, the jury was told
Gordon Cole QC, prosecuting, took the jury through CCTV footage which he says captured the murder of Mr Choudry in Rhyl Avenue.
He said the Crown’s case was that five defendants, Sadaqat Ali, his brother Rafaqat Ali, 38, their father-in-law Fazal Ilahi, 62, another man, Syed Ali Akbar, 45, and a youth who cannot be identified for legal reasons, met up in Rhyl Avenue on the late evening of November 27 armed with pieces of wood, an axe and a machete-type weapon.
Also seen on the footage, he said, was Mr Choudry, who had a baseball bat, and son Ahsan, who held a cricket bat.
The prosecutor said Sadaqat Ali was seen repeatedly holding the machete and at one point struck Ahsan and caused a massive gash to his left hand which he put up to defend himself.
In return, Sadaqat Ali was hit in the face with Ahsan’s bat and then Rafaqat Ali struck Ahsan on the head with a stick, said Mr Cole.
He said later Sadaqat Ali narrowly missed Sajed Choudry’s wife, Shazia, with a swipe of the machete before Sajed Choudry was felled.
Mr Cole said: ‘At one stage you will see a clear backhand swipe into the side of the head of Sajed Choudry which caused him to go to the floor. That was the last blow that Sajed Choudry received.’
Sadaqat Ali then chased Ahsan into his front garden before striking the door with the machete and then turning away, Mr Cole continued.
The machete has not been recovered, the court heard.
When ambulance crews attended the scene, the prosecution say, Sadaqat Ali pretended to be unconscious.
It is alleged that Saira Ali, 35, and Asma Ali, 34, the wives of Sadaqat and Rafaqat, were involved in deliberately switching off the CCTV system covering the outside of Sadaqat’s home before any violence started.
Mr Cole told jurors they would hear further details of Sajed Choudry’s injuries to the top and sides of his head when a pathologist gives evidence later in the case.
He said the Crown anticipate that both Sadaqat Ali and Rafaqat Ali will say they used lawful and reasonable self-defence and did not intend to kill or inflict really serious harm.
Mr Cole said the other three murder accused were expected to say they did not participate in any unlawful violence and that Saira Ali and Asma Ali will claim the CCTV system was prone to fault and it was purely coincidental it stopped working when it did.
Sadaqat Ali, Rafaqat Ali, Ilahi, Akbar and the youth all deny murder and attempted murder.
Saira Ali and Asma Ali deny attempting to pervert the course of justice.
The trial, scheduled to last eight weeks, continues.
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