Figures released today by the Institute of Race Relations show that there have been forty-seven murders with a known or suspected racial element since the publication of the Macpherson report in February 1999.
With its similarities to the murder of Stephen Lawrence, the racist murder of Anthony Walker in Huyton, Liverpool, on 30 July 2005 resonated strongly in the national conscience. But there have been forty-seven murders with a known or suspected racial element since February 1999 and most have received little publicity; in many cases, too, the response from the criminal justice system was inadequate.
While many of these cases were investigated by the police as possible racial crimes, the racial element was, on occasion, not acknowledged in the trial or in the sentencing. In many cases, the murders received scant attention in the national media and the families of the victims were left to campaign for justice without the wider support that media attention brings.
The IRR’s research also shows that the victims of fatal racial violence are increasingly those who are most marginalised in British society: asylum seekers or foreign nationals working in the UK. In the last year alone, one asylum seeker has been murdered (Kalan Kawa Karim) and four foreign nationals have been murdered in attacks with a known or suspected racial element.
Following the bombs in London on 7 July, there has been evidence from police forces and community organisations across the country of an increased number of racist attacks. Just days after the London bombings, a 48-year-old Pakistani man, Kamal Raza Butt, was murdered; he was allegedly taunted with the word ‘Taleban’ as he was punched to the ground by a gang of youths in Nottingham. In London, police figures show a six-fold increase in crimes motivated by religious hate, mostly against Muslims, since the bombings. There were 269 ‘religious hate crimes’ in the three weeks after 7 July compared with forty in the same period in the previous year.
On 30 July 2005, Anthony Walker, a 17-year-old Black student was brutally murdered as he walked home with his girlfriend and a cousin in the Huyton area of Liverpool. The group was subjected to racist abuse before a vicious gang of thugs embedded an axe in Anthony’s head. Liverpool police have promised not to make the same mistakes as the officers investigating the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993. That investigation failed to result in a conviction against those accused of his murder. The Macpherson inquiry into the murder and its investigation made far-reaching recommendations into the investigation and prosecution of racially motivated crimes.
The forty-seven people who have been murdered since February 1999 are Andrea Dykes, John Light, Nicholas Moore, Stelios Economou, Harold (aka Errol) McGowan, Liaquat (aka Bobby) Ali, Joseph Alcendor, Ben Kamanalagi, Hassan Musa, Zardasht Draey, Jason McGowan (1999), Zahid Mubarek, Santokh ‘Peter’ Singh Sandhu, Kombra Divakaren, Jan Marthin Pasalbessi, Glynne Agard, Mohammed Asghar, Abdi Dorre, Tariq Javed, Khaliur Rahman, Sarfraz Khan (2000), Gian Singh Nagra, Fetah Marku, Shiblu Rahman, Shaun Rodney, Sharon Bubb, Firsat Dag, Ross Parker (2001), Peiman Bahmani, Shah Wahab, Derrick Shaw (2002), Mohammed Isa Hasan Ali, an unnamed Asian man, Paul Rosenberg, Johnny Delaney, Awais Alam, Quadir Ahmed (2003), Kris Donald, Shahid Aziz, Akberali Tayabali Mohamedally, Bapishankar Kathirgamamathan, Kalan Kawa Karim, Lalji Joshi, (2004), Mi Gao Huang Chen, Marek Smrs, Kamal Raza Butt, and Anthony Walker (2005).