Three teenagers have been found guilty of murdering a grandfather in his own home.
Sharif Demirsay, 65, was stabbed to death in front of his partner in Kempston, Bedfordshire. They had been enjoying a quiet night in at the bungalow they shared at 1 Vineyard Way in May last year.
A group of three teenagers had been plotting to burgle the house. Courtney Glynn, now 19, Muhammed Rashed, now 17, and Hameedur Rahman, now 16. They arrived at around 9.30pm, knocking loudly on the front door. It was opened by Mr Demirsay. They forced their way inside and immediately started attacking him.
During the trial at Luton Crown Court, his partner, Parshini Salhotra, said they repeatedly stabbed and kicked him. She described how they were behaving like animals, shouting “Kill him! Kill him!”
She had tried to defend him, hitting one of his attackers over the head with the pipe of a vacuum cleaner. She was then attacked herself, sustaining a serious stab wound in her arm.
Just three minutes later, the group of three teenagers fled the scene after taking money and jewellery. They were captured on CCTV running away from 1 Vineyard Way.
Mr Demirsay had sustained eleven cuts and stab wounds. The pathologist Dr Olaf Biedrzycki said he had injuries all over his body, including his hands where he had tried to fight off his attackers.
He said. “These injuries would be consistent with the victim trying to fight off an attack with a knife” he said. He explained the stab wounds, including one to the heart, would have proved “rapidly fatal”.
The police investigation, Operation Algeria, was far from straightforward; there was no DNA evidence and no sign of any murder weapons.
Detective Inspector Tim Redfearn explained: “It was a difficult time. They’re relatively unusual,cases like this, where it’s not immediately obvious who the suspects are and really it’s due to the skill and dedication of my team, going out there and interviewing the people and doing all the old-fashioned dogged detective work.”
As the months went by, police recovered some of the stolen jewellery and witnesses started to come forward. They described how some of the teenagers had been overheard planning the burglary, talking about a “move” and “a load of gold in Kempston”.
The teenagers had also made confessions to people about their involvement in the crime. Police were now beginning to close in on those responsible.
– Detective Inspector, Tim Redfearn
I remember being quite surprised at how young these people were. They were just teenage boys, who obviously decided to get involved in a very serious level of crime for no real apparent reason.
Following the trial at Luton Crown Court, which began seven weeks ago, a statement was read out on behalf of the family of Sharif Demirsay.
– Statement from the family of Sharif Demirsay
The past eleven months have been a horrific ordeal for us all. Ever since the night of the May 14th incident has had a devastating effect on so many lives. Sharif was originally from Turkey but made England his home some 40 years ago finally moving to Bedford seven years ago with his partner of 20 years Parshini. He was a loving partner, father and grandfather to his extended family here in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Turkey and will be deeply missed by so many. This was an unprovoked attack on an elderly couple who should have been safe in their own home. An innocent man's life was tragically taken and our mum and grandmother are still severely traumatised by what she witnessed and experienced. Despite the huge loss and all the pain we have endured it is pleasing to know that those responsible for this attack are now behind bars for a very long time. This would not have been possible had it not been for the hard work and dedication of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, The family liaison officers and the prosecution barristers Jane Bickerstaff, Annie Evans and the many others that have helped gain justice for our parents and grandparents. As a family we have been left with only fond memories of Sharif and the reality of no longer having him with us.
The three teenagers, who are all from the Bedford area, were also found guilty of the unlawful wounding of Mr Demirsay’s partner.
Hameedur Rahman had already pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary. The other two teenagers were found guilty of the offence today.
Courtney Glynn was also found guilty of intimidating a witness and possession of an imitation firearm. They are due to be sentenced tomorrow morning.
A fourth teenager, Travis Dixon Charles, 18, has been acquitted of all charges.