A Muslim schoolboy was stabbed to death at a park when a fight broke out over a Facebook spat involving his girlfriend.
Hassan Mahmood, 15, was stabbed to death on Monday evening at Oaklands Park, Birmingham when he confronted a group of youths who apparently abused his girlfriend on Facebook.
Police said Hassan received the fatal injuries in a confrontation between two groups of teenagers which initially begun as “banter.”
Ghazanfar Ahmed – a local resident of Yardely who knows Hassan’s family – said to 5 Pillarz: “This incident has really upset the local community, Hassan’s family are distraught at the moment. What makes it even more upsetting was that he was killed in the holy month of Ramadan, and if the perpetrators were Muslim, they clearly had no consideration of the compassion Islam teaches between humans.”
Police were called by ambulance crews to Oaklands Park off Wash Lane, Yardely at 6pm. Despite the best efforts of paramedics, Hassan died a short time later.
A friend of Hassan’s who wishes to remain annonymous was at the scene on Monday and described how “banter” suddenly turned into violence. He said: “It was a fight that got out of hand. Apparently another lad wrote something nasty on Facebook about his girlfriend and he found out and challenged him.
“It started out as a bit of banter but spiralled and someone pulled a blade. I wasn’t there but I know people who were. Hassan was just sticking up for her and got killed for it. It’s wrong.”
Hassan’s uncle Sajid Ramzan, 32, said: “We’ve heard a lot of different rumours, some about a girlfriend, others about an argument. I’ve heard about a dispute over Facebook which might have caused the fight but I don’t know any more than that. As far as we knew he was going to the gym when he left.
“He was a lovely kid, and was very family-oriented. He never got into any kind of trouble, he just liked playing his PS3. The family are distraught.”
Hassan’s headteacher Sohail Aslam, from the Rightrack Independent School in Saltley, said: “The whole school is very upset. He was a very respectful and well-behaved young man. We had absolutely no issues or complaints about him.”
Four teenagers, all from Birmingham, have been arrested and continue to be questioned by police on suspicion of murder. They are aged 15, 17 and two are 16.
A memorial page has been set up on Facebook in memory of Hassan urging his friends not to retaliate following his murder and appealed for “calm.”
It read: “I URGE ALL of Hassan’s friends, NOT to take the law in their own hands. I know emotions are running high, we’re living in a time of heightened tensions, but I appeal for calm as I’m sure that’s what Hassan and his family would have wanted”.
Mr Ahmed said: “Further retaliation from friends or cousins will escalate the situation. It’s bad enough that a young man’s life has been taken and his family are still mourning, to start an ‘eye for an eye’ cycle of violence.”
Leading investigating officer, Detective Inspector Tom Chisholm, from CID said: “This was a tragic incident and our deepest condolences go out to the young man’s family. A murder investigation was immediately launched. We have a team of detectives working with local officers to gain an understanding of what happened.
“We are aware that there were groups of young people in the area, some of whom may have left the scene before the police arrived. There is some suggestion that this was a fight which has tragically gone too far. I would ask that people who were in the park or anyone else with information to contact us immediately.
“We are very well experienced at supporting people who are reluctant to share important information which helps solve serious crimes like this. If anyone finds themselves in that position I would urge them to contact me personally.”
The park remained cordoned off for the remainder of Monday night and Tuesday morning as forensics officers continued examining the scene.
Anyone with information can call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.