Grandfather, 75, ‘tried to fight off killer’ before being stabbed to death outside his home on return from mosque’s evening prayers
A 75-year-old pensioner who was stabbed to death outside his home was returning from evening prayers at his local mosque, relatives said today.
Father-of-seven Mohammed Saleem Chaudhry, 75, tried to fight off his when he was attacked in the street in Small Heath, two miles from Birmingham city centre, it is believed.
His nephew, Javid Iqbar, told how he had found his uncle, who carried a walking stick, lying in a pool of blood after a frantic phone call from his aunt.
Mr Iqbar, 53, said: ‘My auntie called me just after 10.30pm, and straight away I knew something must have been wrong.
‘She just started shouting at me to come quickly, that Mohammed had been hurt and she needed help. I raced round to their house and I saw a figure lying in the street, with the neighbours standing over him.
‘I dashed over and he was lying there motionless, in a pool of blood – he had obviously been very seriously attacked.
‘The neighbours had heard shouting in the street and looked outside, and they saw him lying there.
‘He had been on his way home from Mosque, where he had been for evening prayer. It was only a short walk from the house.
‘They called an ambulance straight away and woke up my aunt. My aunt was crying and begging for help. The paramedics arrived and were trying to save him – they rushed him straight to hospital and I followed them in my car.
When we got there, he was rushed away at once, and then the doctors came out and told us that there was nothing they could do. It was the worst night of my life. Our world fell apart, my aunt is devastated.
‘We can’t understand why anyone would want to hurt Mohammed. He is a real family man and would never do anything to hurt anyone.
‘I have no idea why he was attacked – he was just a defenceless old man, walking on his own, late at night. This is a very tightly knit community, and everyone has been rocked by the news. I just hope whoever did this will be brought to justice.’
He lived with his wife, Said Begum, in a terraced house off Little Green Lane, just yards from where he was stabbed.
Today, his daughter, Shazia Khan, said he was returning from evening prayers at the nearby mosque when he was attacked and stabbed four times in the back.
Speaking outside her father’s address, Mrs Khan, who travelled up from London, said: ‘We’re just so shocked – for him to lose his life in such a brutal way.
‘It’s very tragic. He was very well-respected in the community. He’s such a lovely man. I just can’t believe it. Everyone, old and young, knew him.
‘Neighbours have told us they heard screams and called for an ambulance. It’s thought he may have tried to fight off his attacker.’
She said the father of seven and grandfather of 22 used to walk to the mosque five times each day.
He had lived at the property off Little Green Lane with his wife for some 25 years and used to work at the RHM Bakery, which is now a Morrisons supermarket, before retiring some years ago, his daughter added.
‘We just hope the police find who did this. It was him today, it could be someone else tomorrow.
‘To kill a defenceless old man who had a walking stick – well, it’s just terrible.’
Police have launched a murder inquiry after the pensioner was found just yards from a primary school last night.
Officers were called by the ambulance service just after 10.30pm after reports that a man had suffered serious injuries on the same lane as Wyndcliffe Primary School.
Detective Inspector Martin Slevin, from West Midlands Police, said: ‘We are in the very early stages of this investigation and the motive for the attack remains unclear.
‘Today we will be examining CCTV footage and speaking to local residents who who may have seen something last night.
‘We really want to hear from anyone who was in the area at the time and saw anything out of the ordinary.’