Teenage ‘happy slappers’ who killed grandfather outside mosque sent down for a total eight years… but could walk free in months
By Daily Mail Reporter
Two teenage members of a ‘happy slapping’ gang who attacked and killed a 67-year-old man as he stood with his his young granddaughter were locked up today.
But Leon Elcock, 16, and 15-year-old Hamza Lyzai could walk free within months after they were sentenced to four-and-a-half years and three-and-a-half years respectively over the death of retired careworker, Ekram Haque.
The teenage thugs admitted attacking Mr Haque as he stood outside a south London mosque with his three-year-old grand-daughter, Marian.
The 67-year-old cracked his head after being struck to the ground, suffering irreparable brain damage, and died a week after the assault last August.
Elcock and Lyzai, both from Tooting, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and also admitted their parts in other assaults in which, the court heard, they had ‘targeted people for fun’.
The pair had already carried out a number of attacks on elderly Asians, and Elcock was even on bail at the time of the killing for an assault just five days before.
Each will only have to serve half before being released on licence. They spent nearly a year on remand.
Old Bailey judge Martin Stephens told Mr Haque’s killers: ‘As a result of your so-called bit of fun he was deprived of a full and contented life and his family of a devoted, inspiring and beloved father and grandfather.’
He lifted restrictions on naming the pair as a warning to others ‘who may be tempted to indulge in such appalling behaviour’.
A third youth, aged 15, who cannot be named, was locked up for six months after admitting, with Elcock, to actual bodily harm against an Asian couple in their 70s.
Elcock was on bail for the assault on the elderly couple at the time he took part in the killing of Mr Haque.
He and the 15-year-old had attacked Jasumati Patel, 72, and her husband, Jushbhai Patel, 78, on August 26.
‘When they asked you and others perfectly reasonably to leave their garden wall, you pushed them into their house where you punched and kicked them,’ the judge told the pair.
He told Elcock that although he was caught and bailed: ‘That did not deter you.’
All three defendants also admitted actual bodily harm against retired Atta-ul Hassan Mir and Imdad Bukari as they chatted outside the mosque just before the attack on Mr Haque on August 31 - with Mr Mir being knocked unconscious.
Police later recovered six video clips of ‘happy slapping’ incidents in which youths would shout out ‘Lane Gang Productions’ and showed youths running off jeering and laughing.
One showed a bus driver being slapped over the head while others showed people being attacked as they were sleeping or riding bicycles.
Footage of the incident was captured on CCTV.
Brian Altman QC, prosecuting, said: ‘These were unwarranted, cowardly attacks. They targeted people for fun.’
Mr Haque’s son Arfan, 35, said outside court: ‘I thought justice has not been served today. I have been really let down.
‘The CPS really need to buck up their ideas because people are getting away with murder. My father died. It’s a disgrace.’
He had earlier told the court in a statement: ‘It is tragic that he died in the way he did because he was a very peaceful man.’
He said his daughter had been traumatised by what happened because she had a special relationship with her grandfather.
Paying tribute to his father, he said: ‘My father was a very loving individual. He gave his time to anybody and everybody. He enjoyed living in that part of London, close to the mosque and his friends.’
Both killers will be released on licence after serving half their sentences, minus nearly the year they have already been in custody, while the 15-year-old has effectively completed his sentence already.
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