Police have said they believe a Syrian man murdered in Belfast city centre was “trying to prevent a crime” when he was stabbed in the chest.
Hazem Ahmed, 30, was working as a delivery driver when he interrupted a man tampering with a bicycle on the Dublin Road on Sunday 4 June 2017.
He was stabbed and, despite the efforts of members of the public and emergency services, he died shortly after being taken to hospital.
Mr Ahmed’s killer, Callin Wilson, pleaded guilty to murder and to separate charges of making and possessing indecent images.
The 20-year-old, of no fixed abode, was sentenced at Laganside Crown Court on Tuesday to a minimum of nine years in jail for murder and 12 months for the images – to run concurrently.
PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Pete Montgomery, from the PSNI’s Major Investigation Team, said: “My thoughts today are with Hazem’s parents, who live in Turkey, and also his brother Rami who he lived with in Carrickfergus after travelling to Northern Ireland together to build a new life.
“His murder was pointless and we still don’t fully understand what motivated Mr Wilson to kill him. He has shown little remorse.”
DCI Montgomery outlined how Wilson had rifled through his victim’s pockets as he lay dying, stealing his mobile phone before fleeing the scene.
He was arrested a short distance away in a local shop, only a few minutes later, with both the murder weapon and Mr Ahmed’s phone in his possession.
“To stab someone in the chest for no obvious reason and then steal their belongings as they lie dying in the street is something that most of us will find hard to comprehend,” DCI Montgomery added.
“Callin Wilson’s actions display an abhorrent lack of respect for the life of another human being and today I welcome that someone who is assessed as dangerous has been put behind bars.”
The victim’s brother paid tribute to him as kind, generous, hard-working, well-educated and someone who easily made friends.
“Hazem thought we could have a good life here,” Rami Ghrier said.
“It was hard being away from our family and Hazem missed our parents, but he kept smiling every day and looked forward to talking to them.
“I am so sad Hazem is not here and it’s hard without him, especially after spending every day with him.
“My parents are very upset, but they are thankful to the investigation team for everything they have done.”