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HARSHER PUNISHMENTS: Manslaughter sentences for Watford men increased following Court of Appeal hearing

 Published on: 26th November 2021   |   By: Court Reporter   |   Category: Uncategorized

Three men from Watford have had their prison sentences increased following a hearing at the Court of Appeal yesterday (Thursday, November 25).

The Crown Prosecution Service submitted an appeal citing that sentences handed to the trio were unduly lenient after they were found guilty of manslaughter, following a seven-week trial at Reading Crown Court, in relation to the death of Luke O’Connell (pictured) in Watford on Saturday, August 31, 2019.

The change in sentence is as follows:

• Mohammed Haroon Azad, aged 23, of Nicholas Close, Watford was found guilty of manslaughter and section 20 assault. He has seen his sentence increased from nine to 13 years for manslaughter, plus two years concurrent for assault.

• Mohammed Hamza Shah, aged 21, of Hagden Lane, Watford was found guilty of manslaughter and section 20 assault. He has seen his sentence increased from nine to 12 years for manslaughter, plus two years concurrent for assault.

• Umar Sarfraz, aged 23, of Whippendell Road, Watford was found guilty of manslaughter and section 20 assault. He has seen his sentence increased from nine to 12 years for manslaughter, plus two years concurrent for assault.

The original trial had also seen the following:

  • Aamir Mustafa, aged 24, of St Georges Road, Watford was found guilty of murder and section 18 assault. He was sentenced to life with minimum 22 years, plus five years concurrent for the assault.
  • Mohammed Raja Azad, aged 50, of Nicholas Close, Watford was found guilty of perverting the course of justice. He was sentenced to 28 months.

Detective Inspector Justine Jenkins, of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, said: “We strongly felt that the original sentences were unduly lenient and we’re pleased the appeal was successful. 

“Nothing can ever bring Luke back and his family are still suffering every single day, but it was important to us to try and provide them with a greater sense of justice. 

“I hope these increased sentences can now bring some closure as they look to move forward.”

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