• Friday, June 21, 2024


Man dies after friends ‘force’ him to drink two bottles of brandy

Umar Aziz was allegedly made to down two bottles in the space of 30 minutes as ‘jurmana’ or penalty for losing a game or cards

Representational image (iStock)

By: Shajil Kumar

A 35-year-old Asian-origin man died after being ‘forced’ to drink two bottles of liqour for losing a game of cards, on the eve of his sister’s wedding, an inquest at Bradford Coroners’ Court heard.

The incident happened three years ago in Bradford, Daily Mail reports.

Umar Aziz was allegedly made to down brandy in the space of 30 minutes as jurmana or penalty.

He was then put in his car and it was driven into a compound and locked up. His friends left him for the rest of night, the court was told.

The next day on May 23, 2021, Abdul Shaqoor one of the members of the group, returned to the compound and found Aziz unresponsive. He was taken to hospital.

Medical staff at Bradford Royal Infirmary were unable to save Aziz and switched off the life support machine that same day – when his sister’s wedding celebrations were supposed to start.

Aziz had 330mg of alcohol per 1000ml of blood – over four times the drink-drive limit. Pathologist Dr Richard Knight said the cause of death due to acute alcohol intoxication.

Aziz was reportedly carrying thousands of pounds to buy a wedding present, which was not found.

Although police investigated the tragedy, no charges were brought against Shaqoor – allegedly the ringleader – or four other men – Jhangeer Ahmed, Mouzham Jahangir, Mohammed Shakeel and Abdul Saboor – who were present on the night, the inquest heard.

Aziz family is now seeking an unlawful killing verdict and Barrister Matthew Stanbury is arguing on their behalf.

When his father Mohabbat Aziz checked Aziz’s mobile phone, he found WhatsApp messages that suggested the group of six friends, some of whom went back to childhood, had previously used jurmana as a punishment for failing to turn up to events.

When Barrister Stanbury queried Shaqoor about jurmana, he denied it was used as a punishment but the word was used to mean a treat.

Stanbury remarked, ‘So I’m the loser and my punishment is to be the recipient of a treat?’ Shaqoor said it was not intentional and Aziz was a brother.

In a statement to the court, Aziz’s wife Sadhaf Ikhlaq, 30, said he would often come home under the influence of alcohol.

But she said Aziz was hardworking and ran his own takeaway in nearby Leeds. He would work until 11 pm Monday to Saturday and on weekends he would meet friends for a drinks session.

Sadhaf said his friends would often drop him home if he was too drunk.

She said that morning he had asked her for £6,000 of the £7,000 he had saved to buy his sister some jewellery. That money has not been seen since the inquest was told.

The couple have been married for 14 years and have four children. Sadhaf grew up in Pakistan and migrated to the UK after marriage.

Giving evidence, Shaqoor said that Umar had drunk the brandy neat and got drunk. He said nobody took him home because Aziz wanted to stay at a hotel and then decided to sleep in his car.

CCTV from the mosque close to the lock-up showed Aziz turning up to meet his friends. After 2 am the group emerges from the cabin with an extremely drunken Aziz.

The packed courtroom of Aziz’s family were in tears as they watched his last tragic moments on camera.

They brought Aziz’s car, which was parked on the road outside, into the compound at 3 am and carried him to the back seat of the car before locking up the compound.

Shaqoor claimed he went to the compound to check after Umar did not answer his phone.

Aziz’s father said he believes his son would have been found and given timely medical attention had he been put in the car and left on the street, as people coming to pray at the mosque would have found him.

He said: ‘If they’d left the car where it was parked I believe he would be here today.’

The inquest, due to last all week, continues.

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