Killing of Innocent Man By Yorkshire Hitman Not Preventable

The Police watchdog says the killing of an innocent shop worker by a hitman from Huddersfield could not have been prevented by police or the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).

Nasar Hussain was serving customers at an off-licence in Eccles, Greater Manchester, when a hitman from Huddersfield strolled in with a paper bag concealing a sub-machine gun and shot him in the chest and stomach.

Mr Hussain, 27, was not the intended target and was not involved with the dispute between the two gangs in Bolton.

Five men were jailed in February at Manchester Crown Court in connection with the shooting in July 2009.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission ordered a probe after it emerged that SOCA had received intelligence beforehand that an armed robbery was set to take place at the shop.

The inquiry found the agency was first made aware of a potential armed robbery in the Greater Manchester area two days before the killing. Surveillance was mounted involving Greater Manchester Police but later stood down when further information came in to say the raid was not likely to take place.

Less than two hours before the killing on July 4 new intelligence arrived that an armed raid was going to take place at an unspecified location in Oldham.

An hour later further intelligence suggested the robbery would be in Wall Street, Oldham, and armed response units were deployed but at the same time the Brookhouse estate in Eccles was also mentioned as a possible target.

Shortly after 8.30pm more intelligence surfaced and this time identified the correct location as the Brookhouse Wines off-licence.

Armed officers were redirected to the shop but arrived minutes after Mr Hussain had been shot.

Tom Davies, IPCC Commissioner with responsibility for Soca, said:

'The evidence shows this was a dynamic, fast moving operation with information passed on quickly and responded to. It is tragic that the firearms units deployed to the Brookhouse Wines store after the late change in intelligence arrived only minutes after the shooting.

'My sympathies go out to Mr Hussain's family and friends. The only positive is that the firearms team who remained in Oldham after being deployed there in response to the initial intelligence helped apprehend the people responsible as they returned to what turned out to be their gang base in Wall Street.'

Two gangs in Bolton, including the shop owners, were involved in a feud and one called on an Oldham gang to send out a warning to their rivals.

Simeon Henderson, 28, was ordered to damage the store or injure one of its owners but instead lost control of his gun as he sprayed bullets throughout the store.

He pleaded guilty to murder and gave evidence in the trial of four men - Mohammed Hafiz, 43, of Cheetham Hill; Arfan Rafiq, 26, of Oldham; Ryan Manning, 22, of Higher Ince and Akmal Afzal, 25, of Bolton - who were also jailed for their part in the incident.