Jailed for Murder of Azim Azam
It’s understood the pair had fallen out months earlier with Akhtar telling friends he lunged at Azim with the kitchen knife in revenge for being “snaked” – a slang term for insulted.
The 16-year-old, from Yardley, died from a single stab wound to the chest. At Birmingham Crown Court Akhtar admitted murder and was sentenced to life and will serve a minimum of 16 years and three months.
“A SHOCKING waste of two young lives” – that’s how a leading West Midlands Police officer described the knife killing of Birmingham student Azim Azam as a teenager was jailed for life for stabbing him over a petty squabble.
Detective Superintendent Mark Payne said the case sent out stark warnings over the danger of carrying knives in public.
He said: “Had Akhtar not been carrying a knife they may well have had a bit of a dust up and most likely walked away with a few cuts and bruises; who knows, it may well have settled their differences.
“But carrying a knife, or indeed anything that could be used as a weapon, is a game changer: if you set foot in public with a knife you not only endanger other people’s lives but also your own. If someone with a knife gets caught up in a row or scuffle there’s every chance that knife could be used to injure or kill – and may well be used against the carrier.
“Anyone using a knife in anger can expect to waste much of their life behind bars.”
Azim boarded the No 2 bus in Yardley Wood Road, near Swanhurst Lane, at around 8.25am and within moments Akhtar – who was sat at the rear – began hurling abuse and, ominously, was spotted on CCTV discretely pulling on a pair of black gloves.
Azim shrugged off the taunts and minutes later got off at his usual stop at the junction with Wake Green Road.
Witnesses describe how Akhtar, from Glen Rise in Kings Heath, shoved his way past people standing in the aisle to reach Azim and, as he stepped off, stabbed the 16-year-old in the chest.
Azim initially ran off but after a few steps slumped to the ground; a doctor tried reviving him as he lay on the pavement but despite the best efforts of paramedics he later died in hospital.
Akhtar – known amongst associates as ‘Ace’ – phoned a friend on the bus saying “I think I got him but there’s no blood on my weapon” before attending a youth course later that morning and meeting a ‘mentor’ at 2pm in Birmingham city centre.
Both the course lead and young persons’ mentor described Akhtar, now aged 18, as acting normally and didn’t appear nervous or anxious.
Police made numerous arrest attempts at addresses known to Akhtar and, as the net closed, he handed himself in to Birmingham Central Police station the following morning.
A joint statement issued by West Midlands Police on behalf of Azim’s family told how he left for college “smiling and full of hope” – but was never to return home.
It reads: “We still feel lost and heartbroken over the loss of Azim…a mother should never have to bury her son.
“Nothing will ever bring our boy back but some peace may be found knowing the person who killed him isn’t free to walk the streets carrying a knife, putting further lives at risk. To us this behaviour is so unacceptable.
“An innocent boy’s life was lost whilst on his way to his first day at college. He left that morning smiling and full of hope for his future. We will never forget the way Azim lost his life…we will always miss him and love him.”