LONDON // Two "staggeringly incompetent" contract killers went to the wrong house and murdered an innocent schoolboy waiting for his Quran teacher, a court has heard.
The bungling hitmen were hired by Dubai-born Mohammed Ali Ege, 33, who has been on the run since 17-year-old Aamir Siddiqi was stabbed to death in the hallway of the family home in Cardiff in April last year, prosecuting counsel Patrick Harrington told a jury.
Mr Ege, whom police have tried to trace in nationwide TV appeals twice in the past year, hired Ben Hope, 38, and Jason Richards, 37, "for a pittance" to attack a man who owed him £50,000 (Dh280,000) in a property deal, the court was told.
The intended victim lived in a similar-style house on a street about 100 metres from Aamir and his parents, but the two attackers were so high on drugs that they got the houses mixed up, Mr Harrington said.
Aamir, who had recently won a place at university to study law, thought he was opening the door to his Quran teacher.
Instead, he was subjected to an attack of "indescribable savagery" by the knife-wielding Mr Hope and Mr Richards.
The masked pair both howled as they attacked him, delivering a fatal stab wound to his neck, Mr Harrington said.
When Aamir's parents, Iqbal, 68, a retired civil servant, and Parveen, 55, a retired education official, rushed to their son's aid, they too were stabbed but subsequently recovered from serious injuries. While paramedics were desperately trying to revive Aamir, Mr Hope and Mr Richards collected their "blood money" from Mr Ege of about £1,000 each, Mr Harrington told the jury at Cardiff Crown Court on the opening day of the trial on Tuesday.
"They then went on a shopping spree," Mr Harrington said. "It's a chilling thought that in this city there are two men who murdered for the price of a pair of training shoes and a laptop computer."
Mr Ege, who had lived in Cardiff for some years and who frequently toured the streets in either his Porsche or Audi, has not been seen since shortly after the killing. "We know a lot about Mohammed Ali Ege," Mr Harrington said. "We know where he lived. We know what cars he drove, and we know what car his girlfriend drives. He spent lavishly and almost all in cash.
"What we don't know is where he is. We know he's not at home."
Police have said they believe Mr Ege fled Cardiff in disguise and that he may now be abroad.
Mr Hope and Mr Richards both deny being the murderer, and each blames the other. Mr Hope says he was with Mr Richards at times during the day but, in the afternoon, having taken heroin, he fell asleep and does not know anything that Mr Richards did, said Mr Harrington.
Mr Richards blames the killing on Mr Hope and a man from Sheffield who was visiting Cardiff on business.
"Two very different stories, but they seem to be agreed about one thing - that the killer is in the dock. What they are doing is pointing a finger of blame at each other," Mr Harrington said.
The trial continues.