Friends arrested after friend was found dead in car after card game (2024)

Five friends who were with a dad-of-four when he was allegedly forced to drink two bottles of Hennessy brandy as a 'penalty' for losing at cards were later arrested after he was found dead, a coroner's court heard.

Jhangeer Ahmed, Mouzham Jahangir, Abdul Shaqoor, Mohammed Shakeel and Abdul Saboor were all held by police on suspicion of administering a noxious substance, the inquest was told on Thursday.

All five were in a 'dreary' portacabin – used by young Muslim men to drink and gamble away from their families - with Umar Aziz, 35, who drank the 40% alcohol in the space of 30 minutes in the early hours of Sunday, May 23, 2021.

CCTV footage from a mosque next to the lock-up in Bradford, West Yorkshire, where the men spent the evening, showed an extremely drunk Mr Aziz placed on a chair before being sick as friends took pictures and filmed him.

At one point, a liquid was poured into Mr Aziz's mouth which Mr Shaqoor told the court was Lucozade.

Giving evidence about the police investigation, DCI Damien Roebuck, of West Yorkshire Police, said there was 'not enough evidence to say what liquid is being poured into Mr Aziz's mouth'.

Umar Aziz with his wife Sadhaf Ikhlaq and two of his children

Mouzham Jahangir, Abdul Shaqoor and Jhangeer Ahmed pictured together on Tuesday

Bradford Coroners' Court heard pictures and footage taken of Mr Aziz by the men as he sat on the chair have since been deleted and were unable to be recovered by officers 18 months later.

A WhatsApp group set up on the fateful night called 'Hennessy' had also been deleted and could not be recovered.

Read More Muslim father-of-four, 35, died after friends 'forced' him to drink two bottles of brandy in 30 minutes for losing a card game before he was stuffed in the back of his car and locked in a compound overnight, inquest told

Despite the arrests, the case was later dropped because there was not enough evidence, the inquest was told. DCI Roebuck said: 'There was insufficient evidence to bring a criminal investigation.'

The court also heard a forensic examination of the Hennessy bottles found Mr Aziz's DNA on the rim.

DCI Roebuck said: 'The forensic report said Umar's DNA on the Hennessy bottle was indicative of Umar being the main contributor of the drinking.

'When asked about whether Mohammed Shakeel's DNA was also on the bottle or the DNA of the shopkeeper or the person who had disposed of the bottle, DCI Roebuck said: 'There was not enough other DNA on the bottle to compare to someone else.'

Ruth Bundey, acting on behalf of Mr Aziz's wider family, said: 'If someone had touched the rim of the bottle to Umar's mouth, the DNA would have been on the bottle that way.'

DCI Roebuck confirmed that could have been a possibility.

The inquest had previously heard from Matthew Stanbury, acting on behalf of Mr Aziz's father, Mohabbat Aziz, that on this occasion the friends had used the Hennessy to carry out a 'Jurmana' – the Urdu word for penalty – as a punishment for losing cards, something which was denied.

In an ill-fated move, after Mr Aziz downed the two bottles of Hennessy, his friends then brought his car, a seven-seater VW Touran parked out on the road, into the compound at 3am and carried him to the back seat before locking up the compound and leaving at 3.39am.

He was not found until 12.17pm the next day when Shaqoor went to the compound to see him after Umar did not answer his phone at 10.58am.

He had expected to find him recovering from the alcohol.

Instead he was found comatose and covered in his own vomit.

In evidence given on Thursday, police staff investigator Richard Hill was taken through the CCTV footage of the evening and highlighted how Mr Aziz had appeared to be walking well and had even made a phone call to a hotel less than an hour before he drank the Hennessy.

At 01:26, CCTV footage showed Mr Aziz outside the portacabin on his phone – a call that was later determined to be made to the Park Hotel in Bradford.

But Mr Hill told the inquest: 'The Park Hotel doesn't accept customers off the street and only accepts council referrals such as homeless or vulnerable people.'

An inquest at Bradford Coroner's Court (pictured) has heard that the father-of-four was forced to drink two bottles of brandy in the space of 30 minutes after losing a card game

Mr Shaqoor (pictured) denied the four men had forced Mr Aziz to drink the spirit as a punishment and described him as a 'brother'

Mr Aziz's father, Mohabbat Aziz (pictured) believes his son would still be alive if the car had not been moved

Mr Aziz then returned to the portacabin but, at 01:47, he and Mr Ahmed went to Mr Aziz's car and the boot was opened. At 01:50, they return to the portacabin.

Mr Hill said: 'Umar appeared to be walking well. This is the last sighting we see of Umar before he is carried out.'

At 01:52, Mr Shakeel returned with a blue bag with the two bottles of Hennessy and, at 02:18, CCTV footage showed Mr Aziz being carried out of the portacabin and placed on a chair.

Mr Hill said: 'Umar appears extremely drunk.'

The inquest is expected to conclude today.

Friends arrested after friend was found dead in car after card game (2024)


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