Family of attack victim speaks out

Attack victim Azeem Nawaz with his wife Alia at a family wedding last November (s)
Attack victim Azeem Nawaz with his wife Alia at a family wedding last November (s)

THE family of a gentle dad-of-four left fighting for his life after an attack in Burnley said it is at a loss to explain why anyone would want to hurt him.

Mr Azeem Nawaz (32), a self-employed builder, was found with serious head injuries, a cut lip and was bleeding from his ear following the assault on Saturday, March 9th, in March Street, Stoneyholme.

His wife Alia (33) and brother-in-law Waseem Sarwar (35) said the family, which is keeping a vigil by his bedside at the Royal Preston Hospital, had been left devastated.

A reward of up to £3,000 is being offered for information on the attack by charity Crimestoppers.

Reading a family statement, Mr Sarwar said: “We as a family are devastated by what has happened to Azeem. Our lives have changed overnight.

“The children are constantly asking about their dad and when he is coming home – they are desperate to see him and have him home.

“Whatever happened on March 9th has left Azeem in a critical condition and unconscious in intensive care. There are so many things going through our minds but unfortunately, there are no answers.

“We are all just trying to cope, the best we know how. Finding out what happened to Azeem will help us to come to terms with the fact that he is as poorly as he is now, so if anyone knows anything at all about what happened to him – please tell someone.”

Mr Sarwar said his brother-in-law, of Farrer Street, Nelson, “wouldn’t harm a fly” and added the family was finding it difficult to understand the attack.

His daughters Arooj (10), Natasha (6), Anusha (4) and 21-month-old Fathima have been told their father is working out of the area.

Police said Mr Nawaz, who is originally from Pakistan, had been to a meeting in Nelson in the afternoon of the day he was found and they are trying to piece together his movements leading up to the assault. They are studying hours of CCTV footage as part of the investigation. He was discovered by a passing motorcyclist who called the emergency services.

Det. Supt Paul Withers, of Lancashire Constabulary’s force major investigation team, said: “I would appeal directly to the person who might have been involved in this incident. Has there been an altercation, a fight in the street? We’d like to give them the opportunity to come forward to give their version of events.

“We are appealing to people’s consciences for the sake of these four young girls.”

Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.