BRADFORD: A teenager who killed 19-year-old Kian Tordoff in a ferocious knife attack will spend at least 15 years behind bars. Sheryar Khan was told he would only be released if the Parole Board considered it safe – and when released, he would be on licence for life.
He was convicted of Mr Tordoff’s murder on Thursday afternoon, as the fifth day of jury deliberations came to an end. The 17-year-old was also found guilty of the wounding with intent of Mr Tordoff’s close friend Matthew Page, who is also known as Matthew Lowther.
Sheryar’s older brother Arbaz Khan, aged 22, of Yew Tree Avenue, and Arbaz’s friend Mohammed Adil Hussain, aged 18, of Kite Mews, Lower Grange, were both found guilty of the manslaughter of Mr Tordoff and guilty of the unlawful wounding of Mr Lowther.
Arbaz Khan was sentenced to a total of 14 years, two-thirds of which he will serve before being released on licence, while Hussain was sentenced to nine years’ detention in a Young Offender Institution.
According to Asian Image report, the Recorder of Bradford, Judge Richard Mansell QC, told the defendants as he sentenced them: “Kian Tordoff was just 19 years of age when he went for a night out in Bradford on Saturday, October 9, last year. He never made it home that night, his life cut short in a mindless knife attack carried out by you, Sheryar Khan, encouraged by you Arbaz Khan and Mohammed Adil Hussain.”
He said Arbaz Khan bore a “heavy responsibility” for what had happened after violence initially escalated on Westgate in Bradford city centre.
It came after he approached a man called ‘Chaser’ who had been causing trouble for his younger brother and a fight broke out. Others joined in scenes the judge described as “disgraceful”.
He said Khan was humiliated and was not prepared to let it lie, or involve the police.
Judge Mansell said he went home to fetch a machete, which he intended to take back to Bradford to use against those responsible, while Hussain also armed himself with a knife taken from his home.
It wasn’t clear where Sheryar Khan had got his knife and machete from.
Back in Bradford, Sheryar and Arbaz Khan’s brother Aizaz Khan – who was acquitted of murder and manslaughter – had driven his BMW X5 a few metres into Rawson Square, where Mr Tordoff and Mr Page were messing around with pieces of cardboard.
It was there, the judge said, that Arbaz Khan shouted words to the effect of “we’ve got you now, you little bas****s” when he recognised some of those involved in the earlier incident.
Arbaz Khan, his brother Sheryar and Hussain exited the car, weapons at the ready, as it was still moving.
Mr Tordoff instinctively ran, as did others, but was chased down by the youngest Khan brother who inflicted the “ferocious” assault with the two weapons as he lay defenceless.
He ran for his life back to others in group and the judge said: “The footage of those moments where he was fighting for his life and his friends were desperately trying to help him will haunt the family of Kian Tordoff and the young people present in Rawson Square that night for many years to come.”
Sheryar Khan then saw Mr Page and launched a knife attack on him. He was lucky to survive.
Addressing Arbaz Khan, the judge said: “Although you did not stab and injure anyone, your actions in arming yourself, and arranging for your younger brother Sheryar to arm himself, plainly encouraged him to get out of that vehicle and attack one or more of those responsible.
“As for you Mohammed Adil Hussain, you willingly armed yourself and jumped out of that car intent on playing your part in the attack. You chased Matthew Page into North Parade with your knife pointed at him, although when he backed off you did not pursue him.
“Whilst you did not stab or injure anyone, your actions in arming yourself and jumping out of that BMW simultaneously with Sheryar and Arbaz Khan clearly acted as some further encouragement of Sheryar to commit the attacks he carried out.”
Turning to the aftermath, he said CCTV evidence showed none of them appeared remorseful or concerned for those who had been injured.
Judge Mansell rejected evidence given by Arbaz Khan of his younger brother sitting with his head bowed and crying on the journey back, describing it as “wholly misleading”.
He said the priority once they had got back into the car was to get out of the area and dispose of the weapons somewhere they would never be found.
“The CCTV footage plotting the movements of the BMW proves that you each got rid of those weapons in or near Lister Park,” said the judge.
In sentencing Sheryar Khan, the judge said the ferocity of the assault, graphically caught on CCTV, was an aggravating factor, as was the presence of other young people who witnessed the violence and aftermath, including Mr Tordoff dying in front of them.
The disposal of weapons and washing of clothing to conceal evidence was also an aggravating factor. Judge Mansell said while he accepted the 17-year-old, who was 16 at the time, did not set out with a specific intent to kill Kian Tordoff, the assault was so ferocious and sustained that any mitigation to be had from a lack of intent to kill was extinguished.
He found little evidence that his psychosis had driven his behaviour and said the jury had rightly rejected his claim that voices in his head told him to do it.
“The only voices commanding you to behave as you did came from your older brother, Arbaz,” said the judge.
However, he said would not ignore his mental disorder completely and that his development as a young man had been “seriously affected”. The judge said the influence of his older brother Arbaz could not be underestimated.
He concluded the combination of age, immaturity and his mental disorder reduced his culpability significantly. Judge Mansell said the minimum term he must spend in custody before being eligible to apply for release would be 16 years, reduced to 15 years and 91 days to reflect days served on remand.
Arbaz Khan was said to have “intentionally encouraged” his brother to attack one or more of those involved in the earlier Westgate incident.
Aggravating factors included an element of premeditation, the presence of others who witnessed what happened and the disposal of weapons.
The judge took into account his relatively young age, his previous good character and evidence of positive good character as mitigating features.
He was handed an 11-year sentence for manslaughter and a three-year consecutive sentence for unlawful wounding.
Mohammed Adil Hussain was said to have played a “lesser role” with a “distinct lack of appetite” for the fight once it came to it.
Judge Mansell said he must reflect the fact he was only 17 at the time of the offences and reduced the sentence he would have received had he been an adult by a third.
He was sentenced to seven-and-a-half years for manslaughter, with a consecutive sentence of 18 months for unlawful wounding. The case prompted Judge Mansell to send a warning out about the dangers of knife crime.
He said: “Sadly, cases such as this where young males take up arms to exact revenge or take the law into their own hands are not uncommon. A clear message of deterrence needs to be sent out by the courts when offences like this are committed, especially to young people and those responsible for them.”
Speaking after the case, Detective Chief Inspector Marc Bowes, of West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry, said: “The attack on Kian and his friend was horrific in which a group of men set upon and murdered a young man with a knife.
“This case shows the dreadful human cost of knife crime. Kian had his whole life ahead of him and it was cruelly cut short by these three males who were out for revenge and pre-planned their attack by leaving the scene and coming back armed with weapons.”