ROSS Parker, 17 was brutally murdered by Islamic Extremists in Peterborough in 2001. Yesterday Politicalite exclusively revealed in an interview with his former girlfriend the shocking and upsetting details of Ross’ death. Today we reveal how local Labour councillors and Tony Blair’s Labour-run Home Office allegedly tried to ‘cover up’ an extremist attack on the streets of Britain.
After their heinous plan had been executed and before a non-Muslim had been murdered, four of the murderers returned to a nearby garage that they had been using as the headquarters to plan out their twisted plot; their act of terrorism, their contribution to the global Jihad that – thanks to the likes of Bin Laden – they now believed to be just around the corner.
Brandishing the bloody knife, ringleader Ahmed Ali Awan held it to the light for all to see, turned to his wannabe Jihadist accomplices and proudly uttered three chilling words: “cherish the blood”.
The very irony in the fact that one of the morally-stunted cowards who took Ross’ life would advise others to cherish the blood of their victim, while Nicola was left to cling on desperately to the bloodied tissue of the boy she loved still gives me goosebumps.
It is an overwhelmingly odd juxtaposition, a strikingly uneasy testament to the low value that Islamic extremists attribute to the lives of non-believers: that a 17-year-old boy’s blood – the most powerful physical symbol of his life – should only be celebrated when it has left his body and his life had been brought to a brutal end.
After giving a statement in front of a rolling camera, Nicola was allowed to make a phone call to the friend that she and Ross were supposed to have visited that night.
“Her brother answered the phone as she was still asleep,” she told me. “I told him to wake her up. It was gone lunch time by then. When she answered the phone, I told her that we had been attacked on our way over and that I was at the police station. She checked that I was okay and then asked about Ross. I couldn’t answer her. It was then that I completely broke down.”
Taking the phone from her, Nicola’s father delicately broke the terrible news.
That morning, it was left for others to do the same. As people woke up across Peterborough, many did so at the cold and stark realisation that something awful had happened, that something was missing, was lost forever; young girls and boys had lost a friend, pupils had lost a schoolmate, a girl had lost her sweetheart, two loving, ordinary parents had lost their Son. And it had all been stolen in the name of intolerance; a hateful, deeply-rooted intolerance wrapped up under the layered age-old guises of both piety and religion.
Over the first few months that followed Ross’ murder, Nicola Foot suffered terribly from anxiety and depression as a result of her ordeal.
“I just didn’t understand why” she told me. “Why us? Why kill Ross? We hadn’t done anything. I was signed off work for two weeks and given anti-depressants which I didn’t take. I didn’t want to start popping pills. I thought it’d make things worse, or that I’d be tempted to take too many.
I went into work a day or so after to see the manager and the rest of the staff.
When I returned to work a couple of weeks later, the majority of the staff didn’t know what to say to me or how to talk to me. It was pretty isolating.”
The psychological impact and its many undesirable effects would burden Nicola for years to come.
“For a while, I wouldn’t go anywhere without my friend. A lot of the time, if I did go out, I would hold her hand. She had a thumb ring that I would play with while we walked. At work, the staff fell apart. There were people getting drunk behind the bar, some of them simply walking out mid-shift and never coming back. The whole family feel to the place had changed. Halloween the following month was particularly awful as I didn’t want to see people waving fake knives around and covered in fake blood.”
Ross’ funeral was held at the Peterborough Crematorium. Hundreds of mourners turned out to pay their respects and say their final goodbyes: friends, family, police staff, members of the community.
Ross Parker’s death had naturally had a major impact on his family, particularly on his parents, who were struggling to come to terms with their loss. His mother, Davina Parker, took three months off work following Ross’ funeral and reportedly came close to attempting suicide on several occasions. Such is the often undocumented, unrecognized suffering that many go through as a direct result of Islamic terrorism. For make no mistake, the murder of Ross was indeed a terrorist attack; an act committed with the intention of making a religious and political statement; an act committed with the hope that it would strike fear into the ‘enemies of Islam’.
In the follow-up to Ross’ murder, racial tensions in Peterborough were at an all-time high.
As police began door-to-door enquiries, held numerous house raids and arrested a total of 12 Asian youths (the youngest being just 13-years-old), violence and anger broke out across the city.
On Monday, September 24th 2001, the focus of the Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s investigation fell upon seven young Muslim men; a 16-year-old, two 17-year-olds, two 18-year-olds, a 20-year-old, and a male of 21. A further five murder suspects were released on bail whilst enquiries continued.
Out of all those arrested, many attended local schools, including my own, Bretton Woods. In Jack Hunt Secondary School, where Ross had been a student, schoolmates held a special assembly to remember him. Local football teams held minute silences. The Muslim community offered prayers and condolences.
In November 2001, Home Secretary David Blunkett had placed a 3-month ban on all marches in Peterborough for fear that further violence would arise.
On walls close to the murder scene, racist graffiti began to spring up, including the words ‘Paki Powa’ and ‘Death to whites’.
Whilst all this turmoil unfolded, Nicola tried her best to keep her head down.
“I was kept up-to-date with the arrests” she told me. “I believe there were over 10 arrested, but only 4 were charged. I think some of those arrested became witnesses in the end. It was upsetting as I knew there were so many people responsible who got away with it, but I’m still confident that the 4 charged were the main culprits”.
These four men were Sarfraz Ali, Shaied Nazir, Ahmed Ali Awan, and Ziaraff Mahrad.
Sarfraz Ali (aged 25) was a delivery driver whose father played a major role at a local city mosque. Shaied Nazir (22) was a door-to-door salesman brought up in a family of strict Muslim principles, but who rebelled during adolescence; smoking drugs and drinking heavily.
Ahmed Ali Awan (22) was later let off after a jury passed a not guilty verdict due to a lack of evidence (despite there being plenty).
Out of all the twelve or so young men arrested for the murder of Ross Parker, most were secretly recorded inside their cells callously chanting “Taliban!” and “Bin Laden!”
Further fueling public outrage, the then Deputy Mayor of Peterborough, Raja Akhtar, whose son I shared some lessons with at school, and Labour Party Councilor Mohammed Choudhary (both whom later went on to receive prison sentences for committing serious acts of electoral fraud) provided shining character references for Sarfraz Ali, with Akhtar stating that he had “known him to be caring and responsible”. Bizarrely, all those convicted and awaiting trial for the brutal murder were released on bail.
“How confusing it must have been for the jury to see these men accused of murder being allowed to go home each night after court” said Nicola, who still reels from the leniency of the British justice system.
During the six week trial that followed, the jury was able to listen to transcripts of covert police recordings of all four suspects discussing the attack. Recorded inside police vehicles, Shaied Nazir was heard describing Ross’ death as a “bloodbath” and detailed how one of the knife blows had “split the whole of his neck open”.
Recorded conversations in Punjabi in which the suspects planned to create false stories and alibis were also submitted as evidence.
The murder weapons that police had recovered from Nazir’s shed at his family home were also submitted, along with two bags of bloodied clothes.
A pathologist confirmed that the marks on Ross’ body matched the hammer, and DNA and fingerprints belonging to both Nazir and Mahrad were also discovered on the hammer and knife, with Ross’ blood also being found on both.
Nazir’s youngest brother, Wyed Nazir, was also brought to the stand and confirmed to the court that he had seen his brother cleaning the murder weapon on the night of the killing and that he had witnessed all four defendants, Mahrad, Ali, Nazir and Awan, with bloodstains on their clothing.
With the evidence stacked against them, Nazir confessed to spraying Ross with CS gas and killing him. Sensationally, he also accused Ali of hitting Ross with the hammer and Awan of wielding the knife, and accused prosecution witnesses Zaheer Abbas and Adeel Rehman of being involved in the attack too.
Interestingly, like so many others who had allegedly join-in in the attack of Ross Parker, Abbas and Rehman were never charged. In fact, Adeel Rehman was even given the chance to turn Queen’s Evidence (an offer he accepted), providing a damaging account against the other attackers and thus avoiding any jail time himself.
Perhaps even more interesting is that Rehman refused in court to swear an oath over the Koran.
The jury were also informed of how Ahmed Ali Awan, following his arrest and temporary detainment in custody at Bedford Prison, had a conversation with an inmate and described the murder of Ross in lurid detail.
After hearing all the evidence, the jury adjourned to deliberate.
Recalling them to the courtroom, Justice Sir Edwin Jowitt QC, who presided over the trial, told them “Members of the jury, you have now been out considering your verdicts for eleven hours and twenty minutes.
The time has come when it’s appropriate to give you a majority direction”.
As the verdicts were delivered, Ross’ father and sister tried to comfort Ross’ mother, who had broken down in tears.
Whilst Mahrad – whose socks had been found soaked-through with Ross’ blood – was ridiculously let-off, the other three men were found guilty of racially-motivated murder and were each condemned to life imprisonment.
At this point, gasps and cries broke out from within the public gallery.
Nazir’s brother, Wyed, began shouting out angrily in a fit of denial, claiming that his brother was not a murderer before storming out of the court room and eventually being escorted off the premises by security personnel.
Passing the final sentences, the judge summarized the actions of the brainwashed terrorists involved: “You put your heads together with the purpose of arming yourselves and of attacking an innocent man you might find by chance simply because he was of a different race to yourselves. A racist killing must be one of the gravest kinds of killing”.
“I think there definitely should have been a retrial for Ziggy (Ziaraff Mahrad)” said Nicola, by now appearing to show signs of relief after getting the events of that terrible night off of her chest. “I do believe that life should mean life. With time served before the trial, two of them could be out this year (2017), which terrifies me, especially as I won’t be notified of their release dates or any conditions that might be put on them when they’re released”.
When asked about the radicalization of the murderers, Nicola seemed conflicted. “From what I can tell, extremists use religion as an excuse to justify their actions. They’re just bullies. But I don’t know what can be done, if anything, to stop them. If punishments were harsher, would that be enough of a deterrent? If we tried to educate people to be more tolerant, would they listen? Ross’ murderers went to school in multicultural environments, at least at secondary level. It doesn’t seem to have made a difference”.
Nicola is now married with three children. After bravely rebuilding her life she pursued a career in the pub trade whilst studying healthcare and forensics. She now plans to continue with her studies in an effort to pursue her dream career.
“At the moment, my family is my life” she proudly told me. “I try not to think about Ross and what happened as much as possible. These days I only really think about it on anniversaries such as Ross’ birthday or if I’m in a situation where I feel intimidated”.
I asked her what she thought about the trial; about how the case was handled and whether she envisages ever achieving any form of closure.
“The Muslim community [of Peterborough] condemned the attack, but some in the community knew who did what” she replied. “Some evidence was disposed of. There were others who were there that night but who never came forward. Were these people just too scared to come forward or were they a part of it all?
Other witnesses that gave evidence were described as having their own agendas and weren’t 100% reliable. They were just trying to help their friend get off or were trying not to incriminate themselves. At the end of the day I think they were a large group of brainwashed friends who – for whatever reason – hated anyone they viewed as different to them”.
Former Bretton Woods Headmaster, John Gribble, a short, chirpy, curly-haired man who diligently served in his position for over 24 years, had been kind enough to provide me with a brief statement on the murder of Ross and what impact it had at school.
Although he shied away from commenting on his former pupils who had been involved, stating that “after sixteen years I cannot provide assured answers to the detailed questions that you list”, he was keen to have it recorded that “the death of Ross Parker was indeed tragic and many people were grievously affected by the tragedy, in particular, the family and friends of the victim, but also the families of the perpetrators”.
I have to confess, whilst I appreciated his input, I couldn’t help but feel that it was somewhat of a copout. With regards to the criminal case, Nicola – like so many – remains far from content.
“I think that Ziggy was fully involved in the planning and in the attack itself” she told me. “I believe that like the others he was kicking Ross so hard that his shoe came off and that’s how his sock was covered in blood. His excuse that he was trying to protect Ross is rubbish.
I was led to believe at the time of the trial that the judge inadvertently misdirected the jury when he was summing up [the case], which is why he wasn’t found guilty. But the police decided not to put Ross’ family through a retrial, although I would’ve happily given evidence again.
His defense was the only one that contested he was racist, though my sister was in his year at school and she remembers there being the general consensus that he was definitely racist towards white people back then”.
During my research, I’d spent an exhaustingly long period of time delving deep into the murder case of Ross Parker, and – after endless interviews and reviewing of information and testimonies – I joined the like of Nicola in feeling that, even still, justice was yet to be served.
Saying goodbye to Nicola and agreeing to keep in touch, I decided to walk home, taking the exact ill-fated route that she and Ross had taken over sixteen years ago.
The sky was a pallet of cold winter greys, the icy wind biting at my exposed neck. Reaching the underpass I stopped for a short break, leaning my back against the graffiti-stained walls and absorbing the solemn atmosphere that still lingered around the place; in the frosty wind as its quiet whistle echoed softly but chillingly through the concrete tunnel, sinking into the stone cold ground and the cracked grey cycle path.
I walked over to the latter, staring down in deep thought at the exact spot where over ten extremists who had grown up around me had butchered a defenseless 17-year-old boy, a boy whose nickname had been ‘half-pint’ owing to this shortness in height.
From there, under the light from the same half-knackered streetlamps, I began to walk in very different footsteps – those of the main culprits; down a long path they had giddily dashed down, knife and hammer in hand.
Strolling through the run-down ‘no-go zone’ that is Cromwell Road (a long stretch of old Georgian terraced houses now occupied predominantly by Muslims of Pakistani descent), I passed Ziggy’s former house, looking out for every passing door number as I did so – from the flaking, the peeling, to the absent altogether – until I eventually came across what I was looking for; 122 Cromwell Road. It was here – blended into the street that back in my school days I’d been warned to avoid at all cost for fear of violent repercussions dealt out by the local Muslim gang, the childishly-named ‘CRP’ (Cromwell Road Posse) – that the large family home of Shaied Nazir stands.
Shaid – who was close school friends with Atif – had fled, gang in toe, through the same typical green Georgian door I now stared at; rushing back into the garden shed to celebrate their contribution to the ‘Muslim uprising’ initiated by a man named Osama who lived thousands of miles away.
I knocked four times on the thick wooden front door and took a step back. A few moments later a 30-something girl in a black sari answered. I introduced myself with a warm smile and asked her if she was related to Shaied Nazir, to which she sheepishly nodded her head. When I began to ask her questions about Shaied’s past and his imminent release, however, the girl (who it transpired was Shaied’s sister) suddenly changed her persona.
“Sorry, me don’t understand English good” the girl – who had wept in the public gallery as her eldest brother was sentenced for murder – told me. “I’ll get my brother”.
She then closed the door after holding a finger up just below her chin to signal for me to wait a moment, called out for her brother, and then (in perfect English heard clearly through a frosted pane of glass in the front door) explained to him who I was and why I was here.
It was in this moment – whilst waiting to find out if someone who actually re-open the door or if I’d have to wait in silence for a few more minutes, knock again, repeat the process over one final time and then leave – that I noticed something. On the inside walls of the open porch were two words in what appeared to be fresh or at least recent black ink.
The first was simply the word ‘Pakistan’ – a clear display of pride and allegiance that the household must hold towards their ancestral homeland.
The other, on the white-washed wall opposite, was an acronym, scribbled just big enough to not have to overlap onto a second brick: ‘C.R.P’.
In February of 2005, 4 years after Ross’ murder, racism conducted by Asians (mostly of Pakistani descent) towards local white Brits intensified in Peterborough.
In one incident, a website run by local Muslim youths calling themselves the ‘Paki Boiz Crew’ was shut down by the Police for inciting racial hatred, including pages featuring photographs of teenage Asian boys from the city boasting of seriously harming and beating up children from other races.
The authors of the website had proudly bragged of how much money they made from dealing drugs, that some of them had been excluded from school, and that – more worryingly – they carried ‘knives and other weapons’ to attack ‘white kids’ with.
Online they also made reference to the C.R.P, praising them as “a gang of lethal lads that rule their ghetto”.
“Lethal” was, and still is, an understatement. This large gang of hateful, violent, racist, egotistical and brainwashed young Muslims have in the past and inevitably in days to come, secretly ruled ‘their’ turf through intimidation and brutality, always attacking in large groups and only ever cowardly targeting lone white male or female victims. Unsurprisingly, some members of the C.R.P had allegedly been ‘present’ during Ross’ murder.
It was as a young teenager, sitting outside the cathedral square eating fish and chips, when I first saw the C.R.P in action.
A lad from the year above me, Wayne, had been singled out by members of the gang who attended Bretton Woods, simply for having the balls to stand up to an Asian student who verbally abused a young female. For this, as the rest of the public looked on, over ten cowardly droogs dragged him to the floor in broad daylight, kicking and punching him until he eventually managed to get away.
Back then I’d been told that Wayne was lucky to have been ‘treated so leniently’. It was then that I was also told of how members of the gang often proudly write the gang’s initials on their property to show their allegiance and to warn off ‘outsiders’.
Just then the door abruptly opened. Now stood at the forefront of the long tiled hallway, leaning casually against one of its floral wallpapered walls, was Shaied’s younger brother, Wyed Nazir.
Although now ‘all grown up’, he was still instantly recognisable as the once 18-year-old who had been inside a cannabis smoke-filled garden shed just meters away with a gang of Islamic extremists, had seen firsthand his own brother finally washing Ross’ blood away from the murder weapon, who had acted as a prosecution witness (perhaps to save his own hide) against his brother, and who had then bizarrely fled the courtroom in a fit of rage when the smack of the judge’s gable reverberated in the air against the suffocating stuffiness of the word ‘guilty’.
He had short thick black gelled hair, finely-trimmed and shaped facial stubble, grey jogging bottoms, a tight white t-shirt, and his eyes – barely slits at that moment in time – bore all the signs that he’d reluctantly just rolled out of bed. “What d’ya want?” he mumbled, staring at me with a mixture of both arrogance and annoyance.
Introducing myself, I then went on to ask him if he was willing to answer a few short questions. Immediately his sleepy eyes fastened into a steely glare. He told me that he knew who I was. “We’re not interested” he spat, “and you don’t wanna’ come back here or down this street, if you know what I mean”.
I pretended that I didn’t and asked him to elaborate, to which he simply repeated his angered mumble in the same Pakistani-meets-mockney accent: “You know what I mean” he warned me again, only this time adding the word ‘bruv’ at the end.
Mentally drained from such a profoundly mature and intellectually-stimulating exchange of words, I decided to leave. I accepted that the young boy who had spoken so freely in a packed-out courtroom was now, in his perhaps more suspicious and less naïve period of mid-adolescence, unwilling to break the silence that the weight of 17 plus years had conveniently placed upon the subject. “Just leave it as it is” he warned me, “and don’t come back around here”.
I turned my head and made sure that he watched me clocking the graffiti ebbed onto his porch wall. I then gave him an over-exaggerated smile, thanked him for his time, and walked away. As I closed my notepad and placed it in my inside blazer pocket, I knew that I’d be back.
I took a long walk home that evening, Passing Russell Street I noted the house that Sarfraz Ali had lived in, and also the office of a prominent local accident claims business owned by one of the original suspects.
I then strolled along the long path to my left, straddling the road, the gap in the bush that Nicola had once dashed through just in front of me. Beyond it, to the right, stood the long crooked rear-garden fences of Cromwell Road. I walked in a world of my own, staring at the missing garden fence panels and wind-battered gates, stopping only once to gaze at the simple-looking garden shed where those evil profound words were uttered: “Cherish the blood”.
Jay Beecher’s book, The Fifth Column: An Investigation Into Islamic Extremism, is set to be released towards the end of winter 2018 following delays brought about by an influx of victims coming forward to tell him their stories. It includes exclusive interviews with survivors of grooming gangs and terrorist attacks as well as with MPs, Lords, activists, and extremists themselves.