Zahir Visiter trial: Defendant says he lied to police during initial interview and admits stabbing 25-year-old in ‘self-defence’

Zahir Visiter. Picture: Met Police

Zahir Visiter. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

A man accused of fatally stabbing Zahir Visiter in Lisson Grove earlier this year has told a court he inflicted the injury with Zahir’s knife while defending himself during a fight.

Police cars at Regent's Park Mosque this morning, after a man was stabbed to death nearby last night

Police cars at Regent's Park Mosque this morning, after a man was stabbed to death nearby last night. Picture: Harry Taylor - Credit: Archant

Kamal Hussain, 22, is accused of killing the 25-year-old on March 28 in Cunningham Place, St John's Wood. The killing sparked a police lockdown of the London Central Mosque where Hussain and his co-defendant Yosif Ahmed fled after the incident.

A jury at the Old Bailey today heard that Hussain had given a pre-prepared statement in his initial police interview after being arrested on suspicion of murder. He now says he lied to police.

Prosecuting, John Cunningham QC said: "According to you this is the truth: that Zahir Visiter attacked you, he pulled a lock knife on you. What was the problem with telling the truth?"

In response, Hussain said: "I didn't want to say anything. I was scared. I would get arrested for murder. All I can think is they think I murdered him. I did kill him but I didn't intend to kill him." He said he wasn't aware that Visiter had died until later in the evening.

Regent's Park Mosque

Regent's Park Mosque - Credit: Archant

Hussain said that Ahmed had been stood behind him when the fight broke out between him and Zahir, and was not responsible for Zahir's death. The defendants had linked up again a day after the killing, the jury heard, because Hussain thought it was "best to keep together". They then moved between properties in Pimlico, Lewisham, and east London.

Hussain said: "I told him we are both wanted for murder. I didn't want to hand myself in or anything. I thought it was best." He told the court, however, that while they were on the run they didn't discuss what they would say if they were eventually arrested.

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Finishing his questioning, Mr Cunningham said: "You say you lied to the police even though you have no idea that your friend will tell them the opposite. It's obvious the pair of you discussed how far you would go. You would not go to the police after spending five days together.

"I suggest that you and Yosif Ahmed went to Cunningham Place in search of Zahir Visiter. Both of you knew what was going to happen and that he was going to be stabbed."

"No," replied Hussain.

He also denied that he was lying to protect Ahmed when asked by his barrister, Michael Ivers QC.

The trial continues.