Jailed: Two drug dealers murdered former boss in East End turf war
- Credit: Met Police
Two drug dealers who murdered their former boss in a gangland turf war have been jailed for life.
Alimal Islam, 22, and Mofizur Rahman, 21 - of Burgess Street and Wallwood Street in Limehouse respectively - stabbed Alimuz Zaman to death on May 26, 2019.
Shocked members of the public looked on as he was attacked outside Ozzy's newsagents in St Pauls Way, Bow Common, in the middle of the afternoon.
The pair were both found guilty of murder and sentenced yesterday - February 21 - following a trial at the Old Bailey.
Witnesses reported that Rahman was armed with a "large knife", and Islam a "weighty spanner" when they attacked the victim.
Alimuz, who had been stabbed 16 times and assaulted with the wrench, was rushed to hospital before succumbing to his injuries later that night.
Although Alimuz was also armed with a pair of scissors and was "the first to strike a blow", the jury rejected the defendants' plea of self-defence.
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A post-mortem examination revealed the 23-year-old died due to blood loss.
Both suspects were identified by several witnesses and CCTV confirmed their involvement in the attack.
Rahman was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 24 years, while Islam was handed a minimum life term of 22 years.
Judge Anthony Leonard QC said he would have to refer to "Alimuz's drug activities" in his sentencing remarks, but stressed that "whatever his background he didn't deserve to die".
Addressing the defendants, he continued: "I have no doubt that the reason for the violence in St Paul's Way on May 26 lay in a turf war between the two of you and [Alimuz] Zaman.
"You had been dealing in drugs since you were school children, and first helped Zaman to deliver drugs to customers and to return with the money."
The judge described how the defendants decided to become drug dealers on an estate controlled by Alimuz until he was jailed in February 2017 for supplying cannabis and cocaine.
When he was released two years later he found out he had lost the estate to them.
"I have no doubt he [Alimuz] wanted to re-establish his authority as the drug dealer on the estate.
"You were keen not to give up the lucrative trade you had established in his absence," observed the QC.
Judge Leonard added that he had "no doubt" the victim demanded the defendants pay an exorbitant tax to deal drugs on the estate, and that he had threatened them both with violence.
However, he said they could have "avoided the threat" by dealing drugs outside of Alimuz's territory - but chose not to.
"You decided to continue trading in the same area he was trading. The physical conflict was inevitable and you both knew that."
The "ferocity and determination" of the defendants' attack was clear from video shown in the aftermath.
"Even when Zaman was on the ground you went on to attack him," added Judge Leonard.
Investigating officer Det Sgt Gurj Singh, from the Met's murder squad, added: “This attack has understandably caused significant shock and distress to Alimuz’s family and the wider community and I hope these convictions bring some sense of justice to those affected.”