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Aamir Siddiqi Hitmen Jailed For 40 Years

Two hitmen who stabbed an innocent schoolboy to death by mistake have been jailed for a minimum of 40 years.

Ben Hope, 39, and Jason Richards, 38, both from Cardiff, were each paid £1,000 in "blood money" to murder a middle-aged family man who owed money to a shady businessman.

But the "hit" went wrong when the balaclava-clad killers, who were high on drugs, went to the wrong address in Roath, Cardiff, in April 2010 and murdered teenager Aamir Siddiqi by mistake.

The 17-year-old's frantic parents, Iqbal and Parveen, fought to save their son but were also knifed by the killers, who let out chilling howls.

Both men had protested their innocence throughout the four-and-a-half month trial at Swansea Crown Court and attempted to blame each other.

But a jury unanimously found them guilty of Aamir's murder and the attempted murder of his parents.

In sentencing, Mr Justice Royce said he had no choice but to "significantly increase" the minimum term of 30 years the prosecution had asked for.

"Aamir Siddiqi was the youngest child and only son of Sheikh Iqbal and Parveen Ahmed," he said.

"He was a bright, gentle and courteous boy who was much loved by his family. He had secured a place to study law at Cardiff and his future was brimming with promise.

"He was awaiting the arrival of his Koran teacher when he rushed past his parents to open the door.

"You two came in, wearing balaclavas and making a terrible wailing sound. Your attack on him was brutal, savage, callous and cruel.

"You hacked him to death in front of his parents, who fought in vain to save Aamir.

"It was simply good fortune that they were not killed. It was your intention that they should die too. The aggravating features of this case mean the starting point should significantly increase.

"The starting point is 40 years. If you die in jail, few will shed a tear and many will say it will be more than deserved."

Following the sentencing, Aamir's sister, Nishat Siddiqi, posted on her Twitter page: "Am amazed and humbled by the kindness, love and support shown to my family and me in the aftermath of Aamir's murder. I will never forget."

During their trial, the court heard Hope and Richards had been paid by a businessman, angry over a collapsed property deal, to kill a father-of-four who lived in a neighbouring street.

But they went instead to a similar looking red brick, end-of-row house just around the corner in Ninian Road in the leafy suburb of Roath.

Aamir had run down the stairs to answer the door expecting to see his imam, who was due to give him a Koran lesson. Instead, he opened the front door to two masked killers high on heroin.

Hope and Richards wielded daggers over their heads and howled as they set upon the helpless A-level student.

The teenager desperately tried to run back into the house but they chased him and repeatedly lashed out.