West Yorkshire Probation Trust admits Wakefield killer may not have been properly assesed as a risk

Zahir Andrew Aziz, 43, appered before city magistrates charged with the murder of Shabir Choudary in Thornes.'w0738a003
Zahir Andrew Aziz, 43, appered before city magistrates charged with the murder of Shabir Choudary in Thornes.'w0738a003

A VIOLENT offender who murdered his uncle days after being released could have been sent back to prison before he killed if the probation service had properly assessed him.

Zaheer Aziz, 44, murdered his uncle Shabir Choudary 27 days after being released from prison in January 2010.

Murder victim.''SHABIR CHOUDARY

Murder victim.''SHABIR CHOUDARY

Aziz had been serving an eight-year sentence for attacking two drug users with a scythe and for supplying heroin before he was released on licence.

But after Mr Choudary, 52, gave him a place to stay Aziz killed him with a kitchen knife in his flat on Gill Syke Grove, Thornes.

Now an investigation has found that Aziz’s level of risk on his release from prison was not properly assessed by West Yorkshire Probation Trust.

In a letter to the family the trust said: “evidence was not taken account of which may have resulted in a higher risk rating.”

Incidents which happened between his release and the murder could have led to a recall to prison, but Aziz was not locked up again.

The letter said: “had Mr Aziz been initially assessed as presenting a high risk the decision on recall (to prison) may have been different.”

Aziz was found guilty of Mr Choudary’s murder in August 2010.

He must serve a minimum of 17 years, before he can be considered for parole.

Nesar Rafiq, Mr Choudary’s nephew, said: “If they had correctly risk-assessed him (Aziz) and dealt with him properly he would have been recalled and not been able to move to Wakefield and kill my uncle.

“This week is my uncle’s birthday but this is the third birthday we have without him.

“In my view they are failing in their duty to protect members of the public and the person from 
themselves.”

The probation service also refused to disclose a Serious Further Offence Review into the murder, citing data protection and government guidelines.

Mr Rafiq, 41, of Westgate End, said: “He gave up the right to data protection when he killed my uncle.

“We want to get the law changed so families can be involved in finding out what went wrong. Only then can lessons be learned.”

Mark Siddall, director of operations for West Yorkshire Probation Trust, said: “A thorough investigation of this case was carried out and it found that, while the overall case management was good, the initial risk assessment carried out fell short of the appropriate professional standard.

“Our internal review made recommendations to improve practice and these were implemented.”

Wakefield MP Mary Creagh has backed Mr Rafiq’s call for a law change and has written to justice secretary Ken Clarke.

She said: “This tragic case has revealed that victims’ families are not allowed to see Serious Offences Reviews for data protection reasons, effectively giving criminals more rights than bereaved families.”