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Call for calm as riot crash deaths suspects cleared
The father of one of three friends who died during last summer’s riots has joined a judge in appealing for calm after eight men were acquitted of their murders.
As senior police officers in Birmingham pledged to step up patrols following yesterday’s not guilty verdicts, it emerged that the detective who led the triple murder inquiry is facing an inquiry into allegations that he lied on oath.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it was investigating the conduct of Detective Chief Inspector Anthony Tagg, who led the inquiry into the deaths of Haroon Jahan and brothers Shazad Ali and Abdul Musavir.
The three men, all from the Winson Green area of Birmingham, died after being hit by a Mazda car as they tried to protect local shops from looters last August.
The prosecution alleged the men were murdered in the modern-day equivalent of a “chariot charge” involving the Mazda and two other cars, but a jury, which heard 12 weeks of evidence, took just four hours to unanimously acquit the eight men on three counts of murder.
After the verdicts, Haroon Jahan’s father, Tariq Jahan, issued a statement on behalf of both families urging the community to remain calm.
“I would like to appeal for peace and calm in our community in light of today’s verdicts,” it said. “The families do not wish to make any comment regarding the court case at this time and would ask the media to respect their privacy.”
Earlier, Mr Justice Flaux also urged people to respect the jury’s findings. “On any view, this has been a terrible case – a tragic and pointless loss of three young lives,” he said.
“However, by their verdicts the jury have decided that this was not a deliberate killing, that there was no plan to kill these three young men. The jury have decided that this was a terrible accident.”
The judge, who said the deaths occurred at a time of unprecedented civil disorder, added: “It is important that however strong feelings are within the community in Winson Green and adjacent areas, that calm is maintained and that these verdicts are respected.
“Any other action would not be honouring those who died. In fact, quite the reverse.
“What happened on the streets of Birmingham and other cities last August should never be repeated.”
Ryan Goodwin, 21, Shaun Flynn, 26, Juan Ruiz-Gaviria, 31, Joshua Donald, 27, Everton Graham, 30, Adam King, 24, Ian Beckford, 30, and Aaron Parkins, 18, all denied murder, telling the court they did not intend to harm anyone. They described the prosecution case as “speculation” based on CCTV footage of the deaths, which captured three cars being pelted with missiles as they passed the scene.
Hours after the deaths, 21-year-old Jahan's father, Tariq, made an emotional appeal to groups of youths gathered outside his home in Winson Green.
His call for calm was credited with helping to bring an end to the riots, and he later received an award for his compassion and dignity in the aftermath of his son's death.