Lies over road smash led to street attack and threat to torch Nelson butcher’s shop

Burnley Crown Court.
Burnley Crown Court.
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A NELSON butcher was threatened his shop would be petrol bombed and his son and a customer were attacked after a woman involved in a road smash outside the premises lied to her brothers about what happened afterwards, a court heard.

The trouble was started by Nabila Zaman, who was aggressive, intimidating and foul-mouthed after the crash at the junction of Every Street and Pendle Street on April 21st. She called in her brothers, who believed her untruths and did not bother to find out what had really gone on. One immediately responded with violence and the other threatened the family-run butcher’s shop would be burned down if owner George Mellin and his son Nicholas did not “get out of town.”

Burnley Crown Court was told how Nabila Zaman had hurled abuse at the other driver, a 58-year-old woman, and when George McFadyen, a customer at Mellin’s in Every Street, went to try to calm the situation, he was floored, booted repeatedly in the head and body and left injured by Ms Zaman’s brother, Sheraz Zaman.

Nicholas Mellin saw the customer being kicked hard, went to his rescue and was hit in the face. Not long after, George Mellin received two menacing phone calls from another brother, Mohammed Nawaz, telling the butcher nobody messed with his sister and he would have Mr Mellin’s head for a trophy.

Zaman’s solicitor told the court the disturbance had been “deeply unsavoury,” and Judge Beverly Lunt, who had read probation reports said to state the defendant laughed about the incident and thought he should just be fined, said Zaman was “deeply unsavoury” as well and locked him up for nine months.

Zaman (22), of Manchester Road, admitted two counts of assault causing actual bodily harm. Nawaz (30), of Reedyford Road, pleaded guilty to threats to cause damage. Both brothers live in Nelson. Father-of-two Nawaz received a 12-month community order, with supervision and the Thinking Skills programme. The hearing was told Nabila Zaman has been dealt with by the magistrates for a minor public order offence and was fined.

Mr David Macro (prosecuting) said, about 11-10am, three vehicles were involved in the accident. Nabila Zaman got out of her Ford Focus and was aggressive and intimidating to the 58-year-old driver, who was still sitting in her vehicle.

Mr McFadyen went outside the shop, asked Ms Zaman to calm down and she turned her obscenities towards him. He went back into the butcher’s to get a pen and paper and noticed Ms Zaman on her mobile phone, saying: “You better get here. You better get here quickly.”

Mr Macro said Mr McFadyen walked over to the Focus and, as he did so, felt a punch in the side of the face and was knocked to the ground, possibly losing consciousness. Nicholas Mellin saw the customer being kicked all over his body and head, went to intervene, pushed the attacker away and was hit in the face. Another passer-by restrained Zaman and Mr Mellin photographed Zaman on his mobile. Nabila Zaman grabbed the phone, Mr Mellin wrestled it off her and the brother and sister drove off.

The prosecutor said Mr McFadyen suffered bruises, soreness and grazes. Mr Mellin had no visible injuries, but was angry and upset and had feared somebody might get seriously hurt.

Mr Macro said, about 12-15pm, George Mellin got a phone call on the shop landline from Nawaz, telling him: “I’m going to burn your shop down. Nobody messes with my sister. I will have your head for a trophy.” About half an hour later, he received another call, passed the phone to his son and they were told: “I will give you two options. Either shut the shop and move away or I will hospitalise you and put you in a wheelchair and petrol bomb the shop. You tried to break my sister’s arm and mess with my family.”

The brothers were both arrested. Zaman made no comment when questioned and his brother claimed he wanted the Mellins to believe the threats. Nawaz told officers he had called the shop to find out what had happened, but it did his “nut in” when the recipient said he had done nothing wrong,

For Zaman, a taxi operator, Mr Majed Iqbal said the defendant regretted it as the butcher’s shop was directly opposite the main mosque in Nelson. The solicitor said: “He accepts it doesn’t put him in a good light.” Zaman’s family was respected in the community.

Mr Philip Holden, defending Nawaz, a sign maker, said his sister had exaggerated. The barrister continued: “Stupidly, this defendant has taken her at face value and grossly over-reacted. Unpleasant as these offences are, he didn’t take part in any violence.”

Sentencing, Judge Beverly Lunt said the defendants’ sister had plainly told untruths about what went on. She told Zaman: “This was a dreadful incident indeed. It’s clear you still either don’t understand or do not accept how serious the offences you committed are.”