Zahir Visiter: Killers used London Central Mosque to change clothes and evade the police, court told

Zahir Visiter. Picture: Met Police

Zahir Visiter. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Archant

Two killers fled to London Central Mosque in Regent’s Park to get changed and evade the police after murdering a 25-year-old, a court has heard.

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 and Yosif Ahmed, 18, are accused of killing Zahir Visiter in a "pre-planned attack" in Cunningham Place in the evening of March 28.

The Old Bailey heard that after stabbing Mr Visiter four times, they were pursued by cops along Regent's Canal towards the mosque in Park Road.

Prosecuting, James Mulholland QC said that once there, they got changed before leaving. As they left police spoke to them as the mosque was locked down, but officers let them go as they didn't match the descriptions of the suspects.

The jury was told that during the afternoon of the day he died the 25-year-old was at home with his girlfriend in Hucknall Court. He received several phone calls, and after the final one he asked her to help him count £280. Mr Mulholland told the court that it was "unclear" what the money was for.

Regent's Park Mosque

Regent's Park Mosque - Credit: Archant

At about 6pm Mr Visiter told her he was going out for about 5 to 10 minutes. 10 minutes later she got a phone call from a friend to say he had been stabbed outside in the street. The court heard that the four stab wounds, two to the chest, one to the arm and one in Mr Visiter's back had been inflicted with "substantial force."

He was pronounced dead in hospital an hour later.

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Mr Mulholland told the court that while there were no witnesses to the stabbing, CCTV footage had shown them on "Boris Bikes" nearby in the minutes before.

He said: "[This] shows the two defendants from the time they approached the area of north west London, where Zahir Visister lived before the stabbing until they reached the London Central Mosque in Regent's Park just over 20 minutes afterwards, where they discard clothing to evade detection."

Footage captured by nearby cameras showed them watching him die for just under a minute as others arrived to help.

Their description was given to police and two officers followed the alleged killers along the canal, where a knife and a balaclava were later found, the court heard.

Once they arrived at the mosque they "significantly" altered their appearance and went into the mosque wearing T-shirts and shorts.

As Hussain and Ahmed looked on expressionless from the back of the court, Mr Mulholland told his honour judge Mark Dennis QC that they were stopped by police while leaving the mosque.

He said: "By this stage several police officers had entered the grounds around the mosque to conduct a search. A police officer spoke to them men for a couple of minutes. As the description didn't match that of the suspects, they were both allowed to leave the area."

Mr Mulholland said the pair were arrested at a later date, during which they denied having killed Mr Visiter.

Hussain, 22, said he and Ahmed were the two hooded men who ran from police into the mosque, but said it was because he had cannabis on him and did not want to be searched.

Ahmed, 18, denied the killing without offering any further details.

Both men, of north-west London, deny murder.

The trial continues.