On Thursday 3 December 2009, Arshad Ali (20.03.60) was attacked by Neil Boyle (16.11.71) and Darren Atkinson (23.06.70). The assault took place at a hostel where all three were living in St Pancras Way, NW1.
The court heard how all men had a problem with alcohol and members of staff were aware of difficulties between Boyle, Atkinson and Ali on the afternoon of the assault.
Mr Ali had complained to a member of staff that Boyle and Atkinson had threatened him with a knife and that he was frightened. Later that evening Atkinson came up to a member of staff and said: “He’s done it again, so we kicked f**k out of him” adding, “you had better come upstairs now”. The staff member ran upstairs and found Mr Ali lying on a corridor floor with his eyes closed and face disfigured. Mr Ali had been the victim of a sustained attack, which involved him being kicked and stamped on.
When police arrived at the hostel at 18:05hrs, Mr Ali was unconscious, his face covered in blood.
Boyle was at the hostel and officers asked him for his account. He said, “I did it. I had to. He came at me with a knife. I hit him in the face four or five times”.
Both Atkinson and Boyle were arrested at the scene and subsequently charged with Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH).
On arrival at the hospital, tests revealed that Mr Ali was in a deep coma that suggested severe disability. Scans revealed internal brain haemorrhages, which required emergency treatment including the removal of a part of his skull. Mr Ali survived to live for another five-and-a-half years but, as a result of the brain injury sustained during the attack, he was left permanently disabled.
In May 2010, at Blackfriars Crown Court both both men were found guilty of GBH with intent; Atkinson was sentenced to a six-year indeterminate sentence and Boyle was sentenced to a six-year determinate sentence.
Mr Ali was never able to have an independent life after the assault and continued to suffer from his injuries. He was left severely disabled, he had to be fed by a tube and suffered from post-traumatic epilepsy.
On the 19 June 2015, Mr Ali was admitted to hospital where he died. A post-mortem was carried out and the medical opinion was that the head injuries, which Mr Ali sustained in the 2009 assault, contributed significantly towards his death.
As a result a murder investigation was launched and both were charged with Mr Ali’s murder.
Although Boyle was deemed fit to stand at the 2010 GBH trial, expert psychiatric evidence was put before the judge at this trial who ruled that Boyle was no longer fit to plead or stand trial. Therefore the jury was only asked to decide whether Boyle did the act of murder.
On Thursday, 8 November 2018, the jury found Atkinson guilty of Mr Ali’s murder and found that Boyle had indeed committed the act of murder.
Atkinson will be sentenced on Friday, 9 November.
Detective Inspector James Howarth of the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command, said:
“This needless and ferocious assault left Mr Ali suffering terrible injuries that meant he was unable to ever return to a full life. The consequences of that attack stayed with him for the rest of his lifetime and those consequences have now caught up with Atkinson and Boyle.
“I would like to thank the witnesses who have come forward in this second trial to give vital evidence on Mr Ali’s behalf. They have displayed unwavering care and compassion to a fellow human being, who they helped at the time of the attack and now during this murder trial.
“This case demonstrates the determination of the Met to support the victims of violence and bring to justice those who carry out brutal crimes; no matter how much time has passed.”