Ross killers fail in bid to have sentences cut

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TWO killers whose crime shocked the city when they murdered teenager Ross Parker in cold blood have failed in their bid to have their sentences cut.

TWO killers whose crime shocked the city when they murdered teenager Ross Parker in cold blood have failed in their bid to have their sentences cut.City men Ahmed Ali Awan (27), Shaied Nazir (26) and Sarfraz Ali (30) had brutally murdered the 17-year-old with a foot-long hunting knife and a hammer in September 2001.

Yesterday, a judge rejected an appeal by evil Awan and Nazir to have their sentences reduced and said they would have to serve the minimum terms of 18 and 16 years they had been given for the "dreadful" killing.

Ross's father, Tony, who sat through the hearing at London's High Court said today the killers should never be freed.

He said: "We're happy with the decision because the sentence is the same as the original judge recommended.

"It would have been nice if they had been given a bit longer, but at least it wasn't cut. Quite honestly, I think life should mean life.

"You have to get on with your life, but it's never easy, especially when his birthday comes along, or at Christmas time – times when it's a family event, but we're missing a member of the family.

"A lot of families have to cope without family members, but you don't expect to be losing younger members of the family."

Chairman of the city's Pakistani Community Association Ghulam Shabir said today: "I hope this is a lesson for anybody who is thinking of getting involved in a crime like this."

Ross, a keen young sportsman and former pupil at Jack Hunt School, in Netherton, was an innocent victim who just happened to be in the wrong place on September 21, when Awan, of Gladstone Street, Nazir, of Cromwell Road, and Ali, of Harris Street, left a nightclub and went searching for a victim.

"They were wearing balaclavas when they pounced on Ross and used CS gas to stun him after telling his girlfriend who had been walking hand-in-hand with him along a Bourges Boulevard cyclepath, to run.

Ross bled to death after being beaten with the hammer, brutally stabbed, and kicked while helpless on the ground.

Just hours before, Ross had left his family home in Bozeat Way, Westwood, Peterborough, to work a late-shift as bar support at the Solstice pub, in Northminster, city centre.

The three were given life sentences after being convicted of the murder, following a trial at Northampton Crown Court in December 2002.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Davis said the killing had "caused considerable concern in Peterborough" and that it was sparked by tensions caused by the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Upholding the sentences he said he had taken into account "moving" statements from Ross's family.

Speaking after the case, director of Peterborough Racial Equality Council Mahebub Ladha said: "I'm not surprised the sentences were upheld, considering the circumstances of the murder. I hope this will allay fears about early releases of people who are deemed to be unsuitable."

Awan and Nazir will be able to apply for parole in 2020 and 2018 respectively. However, they will only be freed if they can persuade the Parole Board they pose no serious public danger.