05:49PM, Thursday 12 December 2019
A man accused of organising the murder of a teenager in Burnham 16 years ago has told jurors he left the country due to fears for his life.
Jamil Khalid, now 40, flew to Pakistan shortly after officers interviewed him in connection with the killing of Daniel Higgins on November 9, 2003.
Mr Higgins, 18, was tortured and shot in the head by a gang of masked attackers at a property in Thirlmere Avenue, Burn-ham, in an attack which police labelled as a ‘revenge killing’.
Khalid was initially released without charge but he told Reading Crown Court on Wednesday that he decided to leave the UK after police issued him with an Osman warning, meaning his life was under threat.
The former Westgate School student, of Cooper Way, Cippenham, lived abroad for more than 15 years.
Police arrested him at Birmingham Airport in February as he returned to the country with his seven-year-old twins to see his family.
Prosecutor Julian Christopher QC asked Khalid: “Were you concerned about letting a long period of time go because you thought you may still be investigated for this?”
In response, Khalid repeated his concerns about the Osman warning and said he had married and was raising a family in Pakistan.
Khalid was also questioned in court about his connection with a mobile telephone number which the prosecution say was used to phone the attackers on the evening of the killing.
The court heard that, when interviewed by police, Khalid would not reveal his mobile number.
Mr Christopher said: “The true reason you didn’t want to give your number to police is you knew you’d had a number of calls with Majad Khan for the organisation of this murder.”
Khalid told the court the number under question was used by several people as a ‘drug hotline’ on behalf of Khan, who was jailed for life in 2004 for his role in the killing.
He also denied handing the attackers the keys to allow them access to the property in Thirlmere Avenue to get to Mr Higgins.
Khalid had been staying there at the time with Chloe Muncey, the sister of Higgins’ girlfriend Natalie.
He said: “I didn’t have anything to do with that (Higgins’ death) at all.
“Why would I wish him any harm? I didn’t know the boy.”
Khalid denies one count of murder and one count of conspiracy to commit grievous bodily harm with intent.
The trial continues.
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