Last week three young men were convicted for their involvement in a racist attack in August 2008 in Hastings which led to the death of Mohammed al-Majed, a 16-year-old Qatari student.
George Austin (22), Alexander Quinn (19) and Paul Rockett (21) faced a two-month trial at Lewes crown court where they denied various charges in connection with the attack on Mohammed and his friends. Austin was charged with manslaughter, Quinn with wounding with intent to cause GBH and Rockett with racially aggravated assault on one of Mohammed’s friends. They were found guilty on all charges.
The court was told how local foreign students congregated at the USA Fried Chicken and Kebab takeaway and Mohammed was there with friends. A fight began after a group of young men and women, including the three accused, who had been drinking at a local pub, began racially abusing the group of foreign students. One of the students, 17-year-old Peter Henworth, was asked by Rockett ‘where are you from?’ Rockett went to punch Peter but missed and Peter ran away and could not be caught by the chasing youths but was taunted with ‘Come back here, you n****r.’ The gang then turned their attention to Mohammed, his cousin (Abdullah Alnowais) and a friend (Mojeb Qatani), who had initially tried to hide from the gang in the takeaway but the three young men were caught as they tried to run away. The court was told that ‘George Austin ran at Mohammed and punched him right in the face. It was so hard it knocked Mohammed off his feet and effectively into the air with the force of the impact.’ Mohammed’s friend, Mojeb Qatani, was then hit over the head with a bottle and needed six stitches to the wound. Mojeb, who gave evidence via video-link from Riyadh, told the court how he had seen his friend on the ground bleeding surrounded by a group of men. Mohammed initially regained consciousness and was held in a police van before being taken to hospital where it was discovered that he had fractured his skull and had suffered a brain haemorrhage. He died three days later in King’s College Hospital.
Austin and Quinn fled after the fight but Rockett was arrested at the scene for being drunk and disorderly. During police interviews Quinn and Rockett had claimed that the young students that they had attacked were ‘trying to turn all the kids to Muslim’. Austin on the other hand ran away to Cyprus, claiming that he had a job there and that he did not know Mohammed had died. He was re-arrested on his return to the UK in November 2008. The men will be sentenced on 25 November 2009.
Read the IRR’s Factfile on the Racially Motivated Murders (Known or Suspected) 2000 onwards
Read the IRR’s Factfile on the Racially Motivated Murders (Known or Suspected) 1991-1999