AN armed group set upon a man with a baseball bat and a machete during a ‘ferocious’ attack intended to kill him, a court heard.
Usman Multani, his younger brother Kaasim Multani and Shahenul Alam all deny attempted murder, grievous bodily harm with intent and violent disorder following the alleged attack in Wyld’s Lane, Worcester.
The victim, Owais Saleem, suffered a fractured skull, a bleed on the brain, a gash to his face near the eye and injuries to his hand during an attack at around 1am on November 24, 2019.
The trial of Usman Multani, 27, of Westminster Road, Ronkswood, Worcester, Kaasim Multani, 23, also of Westminster Road and Alam, 31, of Ivor Road, Sparkhill, Birmingham got underway at Worcester Crown Court yesterday.
Phil Bradley QC, prosecuting, opened the case, telling the jury there had been ‘friction’ and a ‘febrile atmosphere’ between the ‘Multani group’ from Ronkswood, which included Luke Bridger and his brother Omar Idris, and the Zahid ‘Ali group’.
He said that in the 24 hours before the attack there had been a number of incidents the Multani group blamed on the Ali group.
This included, he said, damage by men ‘apparently wearing balaclavas’ to a car belonging to Mr Idris. Mr Bradley said this was followed a short time later by a further incident at the Horizon centre in Midland Road, near Wyld’s Lane.
Usman Multani, known as Uzzy, was said to have made a phone call to a man he believed was involved in which he said: « Have you got beef with my boy Bridger? »
Mr Bradley said Usman Multani was then reported to have made threats to this man’s family, telling him: « I’m landing now. »
He described Usman and Kaasim Multani being in a Mercedes which drove slowly past the car park of the Horizon Hub in Midland Road.
The same car, say the prosecution, was later driven at a ‘targeted group’ which forced people to pull others out of the way to avoid the car.
Usman Multani was described as ‘clearly rattled’ and was shouting ‘I will take any one of you’ and ‘come for me and I will take all of you,’ said Mr Bradley.
Just two hours before the attack police were called to Luke Bridger’s home with the Multani group saying Zahid Alid had tried to kidnap Mr Bridger’s uncle, Jason Bridger. There were reports of groups of Asian men wearing balaclavas and carrying bats congregating outside the Bridger’s address in Carlisle Road, Ronskwood.
Speaking of the alleged attack on Mr Saleem, the prosecutor said two cars travelled in convoy to the scene – a white Mercedes C-Class and a black Volkswagen Golf to ‘effect revenge upon the Ali group’.
The prosecution case is that Usman Multani left the Mercedes and ran at Mr Saleem with a baseball bat while his brother Kaasim, also in the Mercedes, was armed with a machete. Repeated blows were said to have been landed, knocking Mr Saleem to the ground and other men from the Golf were also said by the prosecution to have joined in the attack.
« Once there they continued to deliver blow after blow with weapons, fists and feet. Owais Saleem was taken completely by surprise » said Mr Bradley.
The alleged victim was later able to tell police nothing other than that he had been attacked by three men dressed in dark-clothing who got out of the Mercedes.
Mr Bradley said: « The victim was left in a perilous position and was lucky not to have lost his life. Remarkably he was able to get to his feet and others presented bundled him into a car, taking him to Worcestershire Royal Hospital. »
However, his injuries were too serious to be treated there and he was transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham for more specialist treatment.
Jurors were shown ‘graphic’ photos of the injuries Mr Saleem sustained, including a deep laceration to his right cheek ‘close to his right eye’. Cuts to his little and middle finger were ‘no doubt inflicted when he tried to protect himself’ said the prosecutor.
He suffered a laceration to his right buttock. The consultant who treated him said Mr Saleem was ‘lucky to have avoided more significant brain injuries’.
Mr Bradley said: « The prosecution say that this was a deliberate, organised and concerted attempted to kill the victim whom the attackers believed was part of the gang they were intent on revenging. »
He added: « The critical element in this charge is the intention to kill. In this case we say intention to kill is is evidenced by the position of the wounds which were aimed at the head and face, the use of weapons to inflict those wounds – a machete and a baseball bat included – and the sheer ferocity of the attack. »
He argued that the Mercedes had been driven past slowly the Horizon Hub to ‘flush’ out members of the Ali gang who followed the car.
Witness Kasim Hamed said he recognised Usman Multani, having known him since the aged of 14, and also Kaasim Multani who he had known for about three years because they used the same boxing gym.
In a statement he said Usman Multani had a baseball bat and Kaasim Multani a machete. Mr Hamed and his friend Faizan Hussain ran away as Usman Multani was described as shouting ‘come on!’ When he looked back he said a group of four or more men kicking someone on the floor, ‘repeatedly striking him with bats and what appeared to be a machete’. Mr Hussain said in a statement that he recognised Usman Multani and also Kaasim because he had been at college with him.
The trial continues.