Man on trial accused of murdering his ‘best friend’ after they allegedly fell out over a cannabis farm
Mohamed Khashkhush, 25, denies the murder of 21-year-old Hamze Ismail
A man is on trial accused of murdering his ‘best friend’ after they allegedly fell out over a cannabis farm.
Mohamed Khashkhush, 25, denies the murder of 21-year-old Hamze Ismail, who died at his own home in Beswick after being repeatedly stabbed.
Manchester Crown Court heard that the pair were both involved in a business selling furniture and other household items, but that they also grew cannabis at a house in Offerton, Stockport.
Prosecutors claim that the relationship between the pair, who were once said to have been ‘the best of friends’ and ‘extremely close’, had become ‘strained’.
They allege that Mr Khashkhush turned up at Mr Ismail’s home at about 2am on May 5 last year and stabbed him to death.
Neighbours told how they were woken by screaming.
Mr Ismail was able to stagger to the phone to call for an ambulance but later died.
Mr Khashkhush is expected to say that he was acting in self defence and that he was ‘terrified’ of Mr Ismail.
Opening the case for the prosecution, Paul Reid QC told jurors: “The reason for the attack was likely to have been a falling out between the two men over the supply of cannabis that they had been cultivating at a cannabis farm in a house in Stockport.”
Jurors were told that in 2018 the pair had set up a business called Major Market Enterprise, which sold furniture and household items online and had premises in Droylsden.
A few months later, in September, the pair rented a house in Offerton which they used to set up a cannabis farm.
A friend of both men described their relationship as ‘the best of friends and extremely close, their relationship got stronger with time’.
But in the weeks leading up to Mr Ismail’s death, their relationship started to become ‘strained’, prosecutors said.
The rent on their premises in Droylsden had not been paid for three months, and Mr Khashkhush had taken £4,000 worth of computers from the unit.
The day before his death, Mr Ismail had agreed to settle their rent arrears of about £2,500 by handing over a van the company used for deliveries.
He told the landlord of the premises that his partners had ‘let him down’ and that he was carrying on the business alone.
Despite this, the landlord said Mr Ismail seemed ‘very happy’ and had told him that he was due to get married.
The day after, prosecutors say that Mr Khashkhush went to Mr Ismail’s home on Hinckley Street before 2am, arriving in a Kia Picanto hired a few weeks earlier which he parked away from the property.
In an alleged attack that ‘only lasted a few seconds’, Mr Ismail suffered nine wounds to his legs, as well as ‘defensive’ injuries to his hands.
Neighbours were woken after hearing ‘high pitched screaming’.
Mr Ismail was able to get from his ground floor front door, up the stairs to his first floor flat before calling an ambulance.
It was only after Mr Ismail’s locked phone was accessed by the police that they became aware of his and Mr Khashkhush’s alleged involvement in growing cannabis.
The landlord of the house in Offerton had reported it but ‘it appears that local police did not investigate the use of the house by the two men for growing cannabis’, Mr Reid said.
On the phone they found two videos recorded by Mr Ismail, which show him and Mr Khashkhush and the cannabis plants.
Describing the cannabis farm, Mr Reid said: “This is not just a couple of pot plants in the corner of the living room.
“This is a proper organisation set up for growing cannabis.”
Further analysis of the phone showed that after April 22 last year there was little phone contact between the pair, and no text messages.
Prior to that they had exchanged ‘argumentative’ messages where Mr Khashkhush spoke of being ‘broke’.
Mr Ismail replied: “So we are supposed to be a team.
“Why you making me enemy?”
Police also found an email Mr Ismail had written to Mr Khashkhush on May 1, which prosecutors said they couldn’t be sure he had actually received.
In the email he says the landlord of the property in Offerton was ‘very angry’.
“I am telling you now if you want peace I suggest you end this now,” the email written by Mr Ismail read.
It continued: “YOUR BECOMING SERIOUS ENEMY TO ME NOW.”
Prosecutors say that the night before Mr Ismail died, Mr Khashkhush parked round the corner from Mr Ismail’s home on Hinckley Street.
They suggest there ‘cannot be an innocent reason’ for the journey, saying Mr Khashkhush used it as a ‘recce’ or he may have got ‘cold feet’ or whether Mr Ismail was not home.
After the alleged murder, Mr Khashkhush went into the city centre and went to McDonald’s on Oxford
He is said to have made a ‘number of calls to escort agencies’ before checking into Sacha’s Hotel just after 7am.
Mr Khashkhush left the hotel after 10am and that afternoon went to Longsight police station, telling an officer ‘I have come to hand myself in’.
“I stabbed someone last night in Beswick,” Mr Khashkhush told the officer.
Prosecutors say that Mr Khashkhush may have seen an M.E.N. story on the incident in Beswick which revealed details of a car police were tracing.
Mr Reid said: “It may therefore be the case that Mr Khashkhush realised that his attempt to hide the identity of the car he was using had failed, and it was therefore only a matter of time before the police would be looking for him.”
Before being interviewed, he is said to have told another officer ‘I am going to plead, it was self defence’.
When asked if he was responsible for Mr Ismail’s death, jurors heard he said ‘I think so, yeah’.
Mr Khashkhush told officers during interview that he had lent Mr Ismail up to £3,000 and that when he started running out of cash, Mr Ismail started to become ‘abusive and aggressive’ to him.
He had decided to leave the business and took the computers to start a new venture, Mr Khashkhush said.
He told officers that Mr Ismail had threatened him and claimed that he could order his kidnapping.
Mr Khashkhush said that he was ‘terrified’ of Mr Ismail, and that on the night he died Mr Khashkhush had gone to his home armed with a knife, to tell him to leave him alone.
He said the knife belonged to Mr Ismail who had left it at his home previously.
At Mr Ismail’s home, Mr Khashkhush said that his friend was ‘about to come and grab me’ and he ‘panicked’.
A post mortem examination found that the cause of Mr Ismail’s death was multiple stab wounds.