A killer who stabbed a teenager in the back – and laughed when he was told the schoolboy had died – was today branded a “true coward” by the victim’s devastated family.
Hassan Mahmood’s uncle, Sajid Ramzan, said the 17-year-old knifeman armed himself for fear of losing the fight, arranged on Facebook, to his 15-year-old rival.
The older teen stabbed Hassan, who was trained in mixed martial arts, when the pair clashed in Oaklands Recreational Ground in Wash Lane, South Yardley, on 15 July 2013.
The killer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was found guilty of murdering Hassan by a jury at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday.
He will be sentenced on February 25.
Mr Ramzan, aged 33 and from Yardley, said: “As a family, we are delighted the jury found Hassan’s killer guilty of murder.
“We feel justice has been served. It was an agreed fist fight to sort out an argument on Facebook.
“Hassan was a mixed martial arts fighter and, although he was two years younger than the other boy, his killer knew he would lose.
“So, in a cowardly act, he took a butcher’s knife along with him and stabbed Hassan in the back.
“It was the act of a true coward who didn’t want to lose respect in front of his Facebook friends.”
Police said the 17-year-old “laughed and smiled” when he was told Hassan had died of his injuries.
A 16-year-old, who also cannot be named, was cleared of assisting an offender by destroying evidence.
After the case it emerged the 17-year-old had previous convictions for possessing knives and making threats to kill the children of a police officer who had arrested him.
He had also previously attacked a young woman, breaking her nose, before boasting about it on Facebook.
Peter Cooper, prosecuting, told the court there had been ill-feeling between the defendant and Hassan’s older brother.
He said there had been telephone calls and exchanges between the defendant and Hassan, including some over Facebook, which had ended in an agreement to “settle their differences” with a fight.
But the 17-year-old launched a “pre-emptive strike”, fatally stabbing Hassan in the back.
West Midlands Police said officers gave the killer a lift to a friend’s house when they spotted him nearby with facial injuries.
But he was arrested after being identified as a suspect because he left his jacket, cigarettes and a bus pass at the murder scene.
After the case Det Insp Warren Hines, who led the investigation, said of the killer: “He clearly intended to cause serious harm, which is obvious from his lack of remorse and the sickening way he laughed and smiled when he was told of Hassan’s death.
“He seemingly relished the opportunity to brag about what he’d done after he was arrested.
“He told officers he expected to be released without charge because they would not be able to find the murder weapon. But he was wrong.
“Anyone using a knife in anger can expect to waste much of their life behind bars.”