Refugee sentenced for manslaughter of man who 'racially insulted him'

Syrian refugee, 19, who killed veteran, 86, with one punch after the pensioner shouted racist insults at him for smoking cannabis is sentenced to four years in a young offenders’ institution for manslaughter

  • Frank Fishwick died in hospital after being hit in the face by Mohammed Al Araaj
  • The 19-year-old Syrian refugee was smoking cannabis in a stairwell when he was confronted by Mr Fishwick who asked him to move before using racist language
  • Veteran Mr Fishwick refused treatment but died later in hospital from brain bleed
  • Al Araaj has been sentenced to four years in a YOI after admitting manslaughter 

A Syrian refugee who punched an 86-year-old veteran after being subjected to racist insults has been sentenced to four years in a young offenders’ institution for manslaughter.

Frank Fishwick died in hospital after being hit by Mohammed Al Araaj during a row with the teenager and his friends outside his home in Preston, Lancashire.

Al Araaj, 19, who came to the UK as a refugee at 15, was one of four students smoking cannabis in a stairwell on the Paddock estate on the afternoon of September 10 last year, Preston Crown Court was told on Wednesday.

Francis McEntee, prosecuting, said Mr Fishwick, who he called a ‘feisty older man’, confronted the group, first through his window and then by going out to them.

In police body-worn camera footage shown to the court, Mr Fishwick was seen in his flat, holding his bloody nose and telling an officer he asked the group to move but they had refused.

One of the defendant’s friends taunted the pensioner, who served in the Royal Engineers, and called him an old man with no teeth, the court was told.

Retired serviceman Frank Fishwick (pictured here with one of his grandchildren), 86, died in hospital less than 24-hours after suffering a fractured nose in the incident outside his home

Police say they were called at around 3pm on Friday to The Paddock, Fulwood, following a report of an assault. Pictured: Police at the scene

Mr Fishwick was said to have replied: ‘Come here and I’ll give you no teeth.’

The grandfather admitted directing racist insults at Al Araaj, telling officers: ‘I will admit I said something that I shouldn’t do.’

Mr McEntee said: ‘He used comments and admitted language which shouldn’t really see the light of day nowadays.’

Honorary recorder of Preston, Judge Robert Altham, told the court: ‘They probably never should have seen the light of day.’

Sentencing, the judge said: ‘The comments made by Mr Fishwick do form part of the background in this case, however even the making of those comments cannot begin to excuse the defendant, a young man, punching an 86-year-old man in the face.’

Mr Fishwick initially refused medical treatment but called for an ambulance that evening, when his nose continued to bleed, and was taken to hospital, the court was told.

Mohammed Al Araaj was sentenced at Preston Crown Court to four years in a young offenders

He had suffered a number of breaks to his nose and a bleed on the brain, Mr McEntree said.

He died the next day.

Al Araaj was arrested on September 12 and initially claimed Mr Fishwick kicked him and threatened him with a knife, Mr McEntee said.

He pleaded guilty to manslaughter at a hearing in December.

In a statement, Mr Fishwick’s daughter, Judith Taylor Fishwick, who lives in America, said her relative’s lives were ‘turned upside down’ by the attack.

Her father was taken from his loved ones by a ‘cruel act of violence’, she added.

Officers attended and found a man, aged 86, with a facial injury, later diagnosed as a fractured nose. Pictured: Police at the scene

Chris Hudson, defending, said Al Araaj was born in Syria and saw his sister killed by a fighter jet’s bullet, which came through their bedroom wall.

He said: ‘He has had a terrible upbringing.’

Al Araaj moved to Blackpool as a refugee and was able to finish his GCSEs despite experiencing racism at school, Mr Hudson said.

He had also been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, the court was told.

Mr Hudson said: ‘He is an intrinsically decent young man.’

Judge Altham said: ‘Whilst this must be a sentence of some considerable length, the mitigating factors outweigh the aggravating factors.’

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