Thugs sentenced for Todmorden teenager's killing

THE three thugs who attacked and killed teenager Alex Holroyd have been caged for a total of 20 years.

The vicious assault on 19-year-old Mr Holroyd, was planned by his attackers for more than 10 weeks before they struck on a January night.

Hanif Mohammed, Yohannis Thompson, and Mohammed Assar – also known as Mohammed Javid – stalked their victim around the Todmorden streets, before launching an attack with such ferocity Mr Holroyd, of Dineley Avenue, Todmorden, was left with slash marks across his face and a 16 centimetre piercing to his lung. Mohammed, 25, of Stansfield Road, Todmorden, was imprisoned for 10 years after admitting manslaughter at Leeds Crown Court.

Thompson, 44, of Springwell Drive, Bradford, and Assar, 35, of Fagley Place, Bradford, were ordered to serve six and four years respectively after admitting conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm.

Sentencing, the Recorder of Leeds Peter Collier, said: "Carrying knives is a curse on our cities and towns."

Alistair Macdonald, prosecuting, said Mohammed organised the gang attack in revenge for Mr Holroyd racially abusing him and his friends.

He and Assar paid former bouncer Thompson 250 to beat him up.

Unbeknown to Thompson and Assar, the night's driver who remained in the car throughout, Mohammed was carrying the knife which he would use to kill Alex Holroyd.

Mohammed and Thompson jumped on Mr Holroyd, whose two friends ran away, after tracking him for two hours – deliberately waiting until he was out of view of CCTV.

Mr Macdonald said: "Mohammed stabbed him in the lower left lung and multiple blows were inflicted.

"When the two ran off the deceased struggled some distance before finally collapsing near Todmorden Post Office."

He died in hospital at 2am the next day.

In a statement read to court Marion Best, Mr Holroyd's grandmother, said:" I can't comprehend how this could happen. His death is a tragedy."

All three defendants admitted deliberately targeting Holroyd but both Thompson and Assar believed they were only going to beat him up.

Peter Joyce, for Thompson, who has a record of violence, said: "This was a man who in his own words to police believed he was just going to give someone a 'chinning'.

"He deeply regrets that a young man lost his life that night."

Both Thompson and Assar handed themselves into police within days of the attack.

Andrew Obryne, for Mohammed, who also had a long criminal record, said he had never intended to use the knife.

"It was never his intention for Mr Holroyd to lose his life."

Slamming the sentence, Stacey Metcalfe, Mr Holroyd's girlfriend said: "Mohammed will realistically only serve five years. That's five years for a life. How is that fair? It's a disgrace."