A TEENAGER stabbed by a mystery assailant had gunpowder residue on his hand, an inquest heard.

Birmingham college student Harun Jama was stabbed in the leg, chest and abdomen on a River Thames path in Oxford on January 3, 2018, within minutes of a gun being fired.

Oxfordshire Coroner’s Court heard on Thursday that on December 22, 2017, a week-and-a-half before his death, the 16-year-old had been arrested in Oxford city centre on suspicion of dealing class A drugs.

Oxford Mail: Forensic officers at the scene near to Friars Wharf, Oxford, after two people have been arrested on suspicion of murder after the death of a 16-year-old boy found with stab wounds. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday January 4, 2018. Police

A package of drugs was seized by police, leaving the teen in debt to a gangster higher up the chain who had been supplying him.

Harun was said to have fallen into drug dealing after beginning to socialise with people at a snooker club in Balsall Heath, Birmingham, in November 2017.

He had been driven to Oxford in a black car and told where to sell the drugs or would pick up his wares from a property in Birmingham and take the train south. He was said to be going to Oxford ‘three to four times a week’.

Friend Mohammed Gulzar said he’d been playing computer games with Harun on January 2, the day before the fatal stabbing, when the teen took a call from his dealer. The man told him to go to Oxford to ‘make some cash’.

Oxford Mail: Police at Friars Wharf

The teenager’s mum, Hibo Fidow, said in a statement that her son had asked on January 2 if he could go to a friend’s birthday party in Oxford. The following evening, Harun’s older brother received a call from an ‘Eritrean man’ saying the boy had been stabbed in Oxford. She had not reported him missing as she thought someone had to be gone for 24 hours before the police could be called.

On the day of his death, Harun spoke to friend Mohammed on Snapchat after missing a planned computer games session.

At around 7.45pm, witnesses described hearing a loud bang ‘like a gunshot’ ring out on the towpath near the bridge between Friar’s Wharf and Baltic Wharf, Oxford city centre.

A man living in flats nearby said the noise was so loud it sounded like it had come from his living room. He went onto his balcony and saw a man being chased along the path towards the blue-and-white bridge by someone on a push bike.

Oxford Mail:

The cyclist caught up with the first man – Harun – and grabbed him from behind. It looked like the pedestrian was being ‘punched in the chest’. The cyclist said what ‘could have been “you could have hit her”, “you hit me” or “you hit something”’.

A woman caught up with the men around five to 10 seconds later and appeared to stop the cyclist attacking Harun. The area was not covered by CCTV at the time.

The boy’s body was found underneath the footbridge at around 7.50pm by a group of runners from Oxford Hash House Harriers. They performed CPR until paramedics arrived to take over. The teenager was pronounced dead by doctors at John Radcliffe Hospital.

Gunpowder residue was found on Harun’s right hand, indicating that he either fired a gun or was in close proximity to it when it was fired. The gun, the assailant’s bike and Harun’s phone were never found.

Thames Valley Police launched a murder investigation in the wake of the fatal stabbing. Charges were brought but in November 2019, the Crown Prosecution Service decided that there was insufficient evidence to take the case to trial.

Oxford Mail: Local residents in Friars Wharf are concerned about safety after the murder last week. They say the council has not done maintenance work such as fixing locks, leaving homeless people able to access doorways. They say the area has been dragged down since

Det Sgt Mike West of the force’s Major Crimes Unit told the coroner’s court on Thursday that detectives were ‘still exploring lines of enquiry’ and added: “If the evidence comes to light we will continue to investigate.”

Recording a conclusion of unlawful killing, senior coroner Darren Salter said: “On January 3, 2018, Harun Jama was engaged in dealing drugs at Friar’s Wharf, Oxford. There was an altercation at approximately 7.45pm where a gun was discharged. Harun Jama was then chased by a man on a bike who caught up with him and stabbed him to death. He was therefore unlawfully killed.”


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