x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Man arrested over murder of Qatari boy

A 21-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a Qatari teenager, who died during a racially motivated assault.

LONDON // A 21-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murdering a Qatari teenager, who died during a racially motivated assault in an English seaside town. The unnamed man was arrested as he got off a flight from Cyprus after it had arrived at Gatwick Airport on Thursday evening, police said yesterday. "At 9.30 [Thursday] night, police officers from the Operation Hook investigation team arrested a man from south London for the murder of Mohammed al Majed, who died on August 22 in Hastings," said a spokesman for Sussex police.

The National this month reported that Sussex detectives had flown to an undisclosed Mediterranean destination in pursuit of a suspect who had fled the country shortly after Mohammed, 16, and a group of Arab friends had been attacked by a gang of local young men shouting racist slogans. Mohammed, who was in the final week of a six-week stay in the south coast resort studying English, suffered serious head injuries and died two days later in hospital in London.

Two local men have already been charged with offences of violence following the attack, which happened outside a seafront takeaway restaurant. One has already appeared in court charged with racially aggravated assault, though the offence is not directly related to the injuries that Mohammed suffered. At the beginning of this month, detectives announced "a significant breakthrough" in the inquiry and officers flew to Cyprus.

Although the man being questioned yesterday was not formally extradited from Cyprus, it is understood that British detectives were on his flight back to the UK. Mohammed, who lived with his parents in Doha, apparently suffered his fatal head injuries when he slipped on a kerb as he tried to escape the attack. His family told the BBC recently that they should have been warned about violence in Hastings, where there have been about 100 attacks on visiting foreign students in the past three years.

More than 30,000 foreign students a year visit the numerous colleges teaching English as a foreign language in Hastings. dsapsted@thenational.ae