Family pays tribute to victim of drunken attack Mohammed Zabir

POPULAR FIGURE: Mohammed Zabir

PROMISING SPORTSMAN: Axel Williamson, who was locked up for three years

First published in News Darlington and Stockton Times: Photograph of the Author by

THE family of a taxi driver who died a month after a vicious attack by a drunken passenger paid tribute last night to “a giant of a man who was loved by everyone”.

Mohammed Zabir, 56, was hit on the head with a bottle and, when he got out of his car, he was drop-kicked in the chest and booted in the head.

The father-of-six was saved from a further attack by residents of Middleton-St- George, near Darlington, who intervened after hearing noises at 2.30am.

Mr Zabir was found in a pool of blood in a muddy ditch.

Some of the villagers gave him first-aid and stayed with him until an ambulance arrived.

A month later, after hospital treatment for ongoing concussion and chest pains, he died of a heart attack – but doctors could not link it to the assault.

Police said the case was a graphic and tragic illustration of how alcohol can change the behaviour of a person who is usually mild-mannered and polite.

Last night, after seeing his teenage assailant locked up for three years, Mr Zabir’s nephew, Javid Khazir, also a cabbie from Middlesbrough, said: “The circumstances in which we lost him have absolutely devastated the family.

Words cannot describe the loss and the grief we all still feel. It has been three months since his passing, and it still hurts every single day.”

Promising sportsman Axel Williamson, of Kitching Grove, Darlington, pleaded guilty to a charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm at Teesside Crown Court.

The court heard that Williamson had been out celebrating his 18th birthday in Yarm before taking a taxi home with three friends.

He had downed “no less than 20 drinks” and had no recollection of what happened, but in a second interview with police he told of his regret.

Witnesses said the teenage college student also shouted foul racial abuse at Mr Zabir after attacking him in his taxi in the early hours of July 9.

Defence barrister Jonathan Walker told Judge George Moorhouse that Williamson was a “an accomplished athlete” who was not used to drinking.

Mr Walker said he had been “egged on” by friends who plied him with shots in an eight-hour drinking session.

“When he sobered up, the true horror dawned on him, and it changed a month later when he learned of the sad demise of Mr Zabir,” he added.

“His very first day as an adult was spent in a police cell having been arrested, nearnaked, running around the fields of Middleton-St-George in drunken oblivion.

“He, like his family, holds out a great level of apology to the family and would all wish me to ventilate their expression of real sorrow for the loss.”

After the case, Mr Khazir, 38, said: “No sentence is ever going to bring Mr Zabir back, and we take no joy from a young man getting locked up.

“He seems to be from a good family and they will be going through a lot at this time, too.”

Nine hundred mourners attended a mosque in Middlesbrough for a funeral service which was held within hours of Mr Zabir’s death.

An hour-long programme on local radio was also held in memory of the popular community figure – who also owned a pizza shop in Darlington.

“He was a very proud individual,” said Mr Khazir. “He was loving and caring. He had become a grandad for the first time just a month or two before the incident, and he doted on his grandkids.”

Mr Khazir paid tribute to the hospital staff and police in Darlington and praised the brave villagers who came to his stricken uncle’s aid.

“In the days that followed, he just could not find the energy.

Otherwise he would have just sprung back up – this really did just break him,” he said.

Detective Sergeant Jim Cunningham, of Darlington CID, said: “Tragically in this case, he seems to be one of those people who drink totally disagrees with and makes someone a Jekyll and Hyde character.”

Comments (11)

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10:29am Mon 28 Nov 11

Celer et Audax says...

Sickening to read this. A man trying to make an honest living beaten to a pulp by a drunken yob. 3 years is not enough in prison even if he has shown remorse. It does not make a difference if after committing a horrendous crime you say "sorry", you still did it! Another violent thug off the Darlington I'm hard production line.
Sickening to read this. A man trying to make an honest living beaten to a pulp by a drunken yob. 3 years is not enough in prison even if he has shown remorse. It does not make a difference if after committing a horrendous crime you say "sorry", you still did it! Another violent thug off the Darlington I'm hard production line. Celer et Audax
  • Score: 0

11:06am Mon 28 Nov 11

stevegg says...

Another travisty of justice - 3 years! So he will do at the most 18 months for murdering this taxi driver in a drink fuelled rage! The family of the victim have shown great restraint at condeming Williamson and the leniant sentance - something most other people would not do if their family member was a victim. What sort of message do these ptiful sentances send out - that its okay to murder someone if your drunk as you will only get a weak sentance!
Another travisty of justice - 3 years! So he will do at the most 18 months for murdering this taxi driver in a drink fuelled rage! The family of the victim have shown great restraint at condeming Williamson and the leniant sentance - something most other people would not do if their family member was a victim. What sort of message do these ptiful sentances send out - that its okay to murder someone if your drunk as you will only get a weak sentance! stevegg
  • Score: 0

11:54am Mon 28 Nov 11

Jonn says...

3 years? Surely there must be an error in the report. You can't tell me someone gets just 3 years for that?
They've been sentencing people for 2 years for petty theft during the riots.
What the hell is going on??
3 years? Surely there must be an error in the report. You can't tell me someone gets just 3 years for that? They've been sentencing people for 2 years for petty theft during the riots. What the hell is going on?? Jonn
  • Score: 0

12:25pm Mon 28 Nov 11

DarlingtonLee says...

I think you guys above are missing a vital point of this story; 'but doctors could not link it to the assault.'
I think you guys above are missing a vital point of this story; 'but doctors could not link it to the assault.' DarlingtonLee
  • Score: 2

1:21pm Mon 28 Nov 11

Celer et Audax says...

DarlingtonLee.......
.....don't be so niave. But let's say it's not related then, hitting him in the head with a bottle, kicking him in the chest and then kicking him in the head while he was on the floor. Still deserves longer than 3 years, at least 5 at the minimum.
DarlingtonLee....... .....don't be so niave. But let's say it's not related then, hitting him in the head with a bottle, kicking him in the chest and then kicking him in the head while he was on the floor. Still deserves longer than 3 years, at least 5 at the minimum. Celer et Audax
  • Score: 0

2:45pm Mon 28 Nov 11

smokin says...

and they say smoking kills
it's time drunks were sorted
bar tenders should be fined for selling a drunk more booze
and they say smoking kills it's time drunks were sorted bar tenders should be fined for selling a drunk more booze smokin
  • Score: 0

4:49pm Mon 28 Nov 11

Edindtmh says...

Alcohol is the curse of our culture. Overprice it ASAP.
And increase custodial period for such crimes.
Alcohol is the curse of our culture. Overprice it ASAP. And increase custodial period for such crimes. Edindtmh
  • Score: 0

7:50pm Mon 28 Nov 11

flatbattery says...

once again punishment not fitting the crime, why do we have stupid judges. that idiot should be locked away for 30 years
once again punishment not fitting the crime, why do we have stupid judges. that idiot should be locked away for 30 years flatbattery
  • Score: 0

10:04am Tue 29 Nov 11

Dean M says...

Edindtmh wrote:
Alcohol is the curse of our culture. Overprice it ASAP. And increase custodial period for such crimes.
Disagree with the overprice comment - it's not right to punish the whole populations for the crimes of a minority.
.
Agree with the second point, the custodial sentences should be higher.
.
'Witnesses said the teenage college student also shouted foul racial abuse'. Nice one pot, now where's that kettle?
[quote][p][bold]Edindtmh[/bold] wrote: Alcohol is the curse of our culture. Overprice it ASAP. And increase custodial period for such crimes.[/p][/quote]Disagree with the overprice comment - it's not right to punish the whole populations for the crimes of a minority. . Agree with the second point, the custodial sentences should be higher. . 'Witnesses said the teenage college student also shouted foul racial abuse'. Nice one pot, now where's that kettle? Dean M
  • Score: 0

9:18pm Tue 29 Nov 11

Jonn says...

DarlingtonLee wrote:
I think you guys above are missing a vital point of this story; 'but doctors could not link it to the assault.'
I read the article fully and am not missing any points thankyou.
3 years for an unprovoked attack of smashing a bottle over someones head, drop kicking them and kicking them in the head while they are laying on the floor is pathetic. The guy then dies a few weeks later while trying to recover, and it's not related!!
Give over.
[quote][p][bold]DarlingtonLee[/bold] wrote: I think you guys above are missing a vital point of this story; 'but doctors could not link it to the assault.'[/p][/quote]I read the article fully and am not missing any points thankyou. 3 years for an unprovoked attack of smashing a bottle over someones head, drop kicking them and kicking them in the head while they are laying on the floor is pathetic. The guy then dies a few weeks later while trying to recover, and it's not related!! Give over. Jonn
  • Score: 0

9:28am Wed 30 Nov 11

Celer et Audax says...

Dirty scum bag! Hope he's gone to proper adult prison and not one of these youth offender holiday camps.
Dirty scum bag! Hope he's gone to proper adult prison and not one of these youth offender holiday camps. Celer et Audax
  • Score: 1

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