Nelson ‘family at war’ bring 20-year feud to streets

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A family at war took their 20-year feud onto the streets of Nelson, a court was told.

The row began after defendant Mohammed Ansar divorced his wife, and there had been bad blood ever since.

The situation, barrister Mr Robert Elias told Burnley Crown Court, worsened when a brother began “carrying on” with his ex-wife, and it caused stress in the family.

Ansar (51) and his son Atif Ansar (23), both of Ashton Drive, Nelson, admitted being involved in an affray in back Manchester Road, outside a house owned by Ansar’s nephew Madassir Hussain, the son of Ansar’s ex-wife’s parents, Liaqat Ali and Nazir Begum, who had gone there for a family reunion.

Atif Ansar also admitted having an offensive weapon, a baseball bat he used to smash his cousin Madassir Hussain’s car.

The men changed their plea shortly before the start of a trial.

The Crown offered no evidence against a third defendant, Abid Sajjad (22), of Manchester Road, Nelson, another cousin recently arrived in the UK and due to marry Ansar’s daughter.

Mr Mark Lamberty (prosecuting) said the father accepted he was the architect of the affray.

The court was told the Ansars were waiting in a car when Mr Hussain was about to set off in his own car to take his parents home.

At some stage during the melee the family’s matriarch, Nazir Begum, was pushed over.

“It is very difficult to ascertain the truth of what happened,” said Mr Elias.

“There is no allegation she was injured. It could well have been it was a ‘dying swan’ fall, to draw attention to herself to stop what was going on.”

Passing sentence, Mr Recorder A.J. Edis QC said he held father and son equally responsible for the trouble and gave them both jail, suspended for a year. Mohammed Ansar was given 14 weeks and Atif Ansar 12 weeks.

He declined to make a compensation order, saying both men were of modest means and it would take them years to pay at the £5 a week they offered.

He also declined to make a restraining order because, he said, it was impractical, as all the parties lived near each other. The baseball bat was confiscated.