Twin traumatised by killing of Afghan refugee who wanted safer life in UK

Brother of Hazrat Wali describes 'devastation' as court jails teenage knifeman for 10 years

Hazrat Wali was killed on a playing field in south-west London. PA
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The family of an Afghan teenager who left his home country “hoping for a safer life” in the UK has been left devastated by his killing, a court was told on Friday.

They said aspiring cricketer Hazrat Wali wanted to become an engineer and his twin brother was “traumatised” by the killing.

Mr Wali, 18, died in hospital from a deep knife wound suffered in an attack in south-west London in October 2021.

A 17-year-old, whose name has not been made public, was found guilty of manslaughter by an Old Bailey jury. He was acquitted on the more serious charge of murder.

He admitted wielding the knife, hours after leaving a magistrates’ court where he had faced another weapons charge, but denied that he intended to cause Mr Wali, a student, really serious harm.

Mohamed Ashuk, Mr Wali’s older brother, said in a victim impact statement that his sibling travelled to London from Afghanistan “hoping for a safer life”.

“He was just settling into college and enjoying his new life in London and he wanted to study and become an engineer,” he said.

Mr Ashuk said his children are afraid to leave the house for fear of being stabbed.

The court heard Mr Wali’s twin brother was traumatised by the news of his death when he arrived in the UK.

“He thought he would be reunited with his brother after travelling here from Afghanistan,” Mr Ashuk said.

The elder brother added: “This was no accident, it was a deliberate and violent attack which has left me and my family in a state of devastation.”

Mr Wali was sitting in the park with Mariam Ahmadazai, a female friend, when they were approached by the accused and five other teenagers.

Prosecutor Jacob Hallam KC has said the accused, then aged 16, began swearing at Mr Wali, who got to his feet and approached him. The accused pushed Mr Wali with his chest and the clash escalated when he pulled out a 20cm-long black knife.

Players in a rugby match between Richmond School and Hampton School watched as the injured teenager collapsed.

Judge Sarah Plaschkes KC at the Old Bailey on Friday sentenced him to 10 years detention.

“When you stabbed Hazrat he was unarmed and outnumbered by you and your friends,” she said.

She said he made a “deliberate decision to carry a fearsome weapon” that day, adding: “You told the jury that you took the knife to the magistrates’ court. You left it in some bushes outside and collected it once the hearing concluded.”

The court also heard that the accused went on to attack a McDonald’s server an hour after stabbing Mr Wali, for which he has pleaded guilty to affray and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Updated: March 10, 2023, 4:03 PM