Jail terms 'not long enough' says victim

TWO men who subjected restaurant staff to a horrific night-time attack are today beginning lengthy prison terms – but one victim said the sentences were not long enough.

TWO men who subjected restaurant staff to a horrific night-time attack are today beginning lengthy prison terms – but one victim said the sentences were not long enough.

Bekim Demoy, 26, and Agron Abrashi, 23, were sentenced to serve two years and 18 months in jail respectively after earlier pleading guilty to the attack on Felixstowe restaurant owner Akmal Ullah and his friend Mohammed Abdul Mumith Zhuru.

But the pair have already served nearly five months in jail while on remand waiting for their case to be heard and could apply for parole after half their sentence and so could be out in just months.

Mr Zhuru has been on sleeping pills since the incident – and without them cannot sleep because of the nightmares he suffers. Every time he closes his eyes he can still see the weapons used by his attackers coming towards him.

Mr Zhuru, 51, suffered severe head injuries in the five-minute assault and was left permanently scarred.

He said: "I think the sentences are too lenient – I thought they would get much longer. They have already been in prison five months and could be out within months.

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"I am still scared. When I close my eyes all I can see if this huge knife and the metal pole.

"I could not sleep for the nightmares and went to see the doctor but all he could give was pills. I don't want to be on pills for the rest of my life – I just want peace."

Mr Ullah, who grappled with the knife-wielding Abrashi and could only watch helplessly as his friend was beaten, was also "still scared".

The pair were working at the Nice 'N' Spicy restaurant in Undercliff Road West on April 23 when an intoxicated Demoy dropped a bag containing alcohol he purchased at a nearby off-licence, causing some of the bottles to break.

Demoy claims he left some bottles which hadn't broken outside the restaurant but when he returned they were gone.

He accused the men inside the restaurant of taking them and an argument followed, during which Demoy tussled with Mr Zhuru and Mr Ullah on the pavement.

Demoy then went home but returned with Abrashi and both were armed – Demoy with a pick-axe handle wrapped in tape and Abrashi with a 14-inch hunting knife with a serrated blade.

Mr Zhuru sustained severe head injuries and Mr Ullah suffered cuts to his hand as he fought off Abrashi.

During an earlier hearing, Demoy, of Russell Road, Felixstowe, admitted wounding Mr Zhuru.

He also admitted carrying an offensive weapon.

Abrashi, of Russell Road, pleaded guilty to having an offensive weapon and to causing Mr Ullah actual bodily harm.

During yesterday's sentencing Judge David Goodin told the pair: "You were quite plainly each of you bent on revenge and you exacted it."

Both men, who are Kosovan nationals, had their heads bowed throughout the sentencing hearing and used an interpreter to follow proceedings.

Defending Demoy, Matthew Gowan said: "This is out of character for him, he finds it very difficult to accept that he acted in this way."

Defending Abrashi, Matthew McNiff told Judge Goodin that since moving to England his client had lost contact with his family in Kosovo.

He said the events he witnessed during his life there had impacted on him heavily.

"He grew up in his formative years where people were killed at the drop of a hat."

He added: "It does go some way to explaining why he behaved in the way that he did.

"He, as an adult, made a decision. He recognises what he did was wrong."

Judge Goodin sentenced Demoy to two years in prison for wounding Mr Zhuru and 18 months for carrying an offensive weapon. Both sentences are to run concurrently.

Abrashi was given 18 months imprisonment for each offence of wounding and carrying an offensive weapon, to run concurrently.

Judge Goodin did not recommend either man be deported. He said that he took into account the fact that both men had fled "unimaginable horrors" in their homeland and that those experiences had had a lasting impact on them.

What do you think of this case? Write in to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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