Riot deaths likened to 'chariot charge'

April 20, 2012 at 1:46 AM

BIRMINGHAM, England, April 20 (UPI) -- The trial of men charged with running down three Pakistanis during British riots began Thursday with a prosecutor comparing the killings to a "chariot charge."

Jurors in Birmingham Crown Court were shown security camera footage of the deaths of Shazad Ali, 30, Abdul Musavir, 31, and Haroon Jahan, 20, The Sun reported. Musavir and Ali were brothers, and they and their friend, Jahan, were trying to protect businesses from looting during last summer's violence.

The victims' families began crying during the presentation, The Independent reported. Justice Julian Flaux suspended the proceedings for almost an hour after relatives of the eight defendants got into a scuffle with the victims' relatives.

Three cars ran the three victims down at a gas station. Prosecuting lawyer Timothy Spenser said the deaths were not accidental.

"It was deliberate and coordinated," he said. "It was the modern day equivalent of a chariot charge -- and it was deadly. They were killed in shocking circumstances."

The video footage showed a Mazda hitting the three, the Sun said. Spenser said those in the cars yelled, "Pakis, Pakis, we're coming for you."

The eight defendants, all Birmingham residents, each face three counts of murder.

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