A member of a cannabis factory gang accidentally murdered his brother with a crossbow – and then used the “horrific” weapon to kill an intruder, a court has heard.
Saghawat Ramzan, 47, was aiming at a would-be raider, who was being punched in the street, when he hit and killed Waseem Ramzan, a trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court was told.
Saghawat, his son Omar Ramzan, and Mohammed Sageer all deny murdering Waseem Ramzan, 36, and 19-year-old Khuzaimah Douglas during an “attack” on a cannabis factory by a rival gang.
The trio are accused of murdering both victims in the early hours of February 20 last year in Pensnett Road, Brierley Hill, West Midlands.
Opening the case on Tuesday, prosecutor Adrian Keeling QC said Saghawat and Omar Ramzan, 24, lived on Pensnett Road in a house next door to a property being used to grow cannabis worth up to £225,000 a year.
Sageer, 33, of Gorsty Avenue, Brierley Hill, is alleged to have driven to Pensnett Road to join efforts to protect the drug-growing operation with an “ugly” armoury of weapons including a sword and two crossbows.
Telling jurors that the rival gang had attacked the rear of the cannabis factory at about 2.30am, Mr Keeling said of Saghawat and Omar Ramzan: “Despite the time of night, these two defendants were immediately aware of the attack and the fact it was taking place.”
CCTV then captured Saghawat firing a crossbow at the rear of the cannabis factory, but it missed the intruders, striking a shed, Mr Keeling said.
The prosecutor added: “They sprang into violent defence of the drug-growing operation.
“Rather than let them (the rival gang) retreat into the night, they blocked their retreat and effectively boxed the raiders into the house.
“The raiders had no real choice but to smash a window at the front of the house… and try to get away.”
Mr Douglas, the court heard, then had the “fatal misfortune” to be caught by Waseem Ramzan while attempting to flee.
Prosecutors allege that Saghawat, who was already holding a sword, then went back into the house to arm himself with a large crossbow.
Mr Keeling told the court that as Mr Douglas struggled to fend off four assailants, Saghawat fired the first of two crossbow bolts.
The barrister told jurors: “He didn’t need to do so. He fired the bolt from almost point-blank range and, in doing that, he must have intended at least really serious harm, if not to kill.
“It’s a horrific weapon, it’s capable of horrific damage.
“He did not, however, hit Mr Douglas. Instead, he hit his brother to the left side of the abdomen – a wound that was to kill him.
“Despite that awful act of violence, the attack on Mr Douglas continued. Saghawat Ramzan decided to reload the crossbow.
“He then killed Mr Douglas by firing the crossbow a second time.”
The second victim suffered a wound to his flank, which caused massive blood loss, and he died at the scene.
During his address to the jury, Mr Keeling submitted that the defendants had been prepared to “meet violence with violence” if anyone tried to take or destroy the cannabis crop.
“That’s precisely what happened in the small hours of February 20,” the QC said.
“A rival gang decided to raid Pensnett Road.
“They (the Ramzans) had armed themselves and the armoury was an ugly one. It involved a large crossbow, a small crossbow, a sword, knives and a knuckle-duster.”
Mr Keeling will continue his opening speech to the jury on Wednesday.