Avon & Somerset’s story of the murder on carnival night in St Pauls isn’t adding up.
It’s been widely reported now that a 35-year-old local Somalian man, Mohamoud Muse Hassan, was stabbed to death in the early hours of Sunday morning at The Criterion pub in Ashley Road, St Pauls.
However within just a few hours of the attack, Avon & Somerset were confidently claiming: “There is nothing to suggest it is connected to the St Paul’s Carnival which finished sometime before.”
This statement beggars belief. The photograph of the crime scene (above) released by the police clearly shows a stall set up in front of the pub for use at, er… Carnival! And a slightly hysterical report in The Cancer suggests well over 100 people may have been out at the front of the pub at the time of the stabbing.
This was certainly not an ordinary Saturday night in St Pauls.
Anyone who’s ever attended Carnival over the years could probably confirm too that the pub is clearly situated right near the heart of the event and that traditionally Carnival has carried on informally throughout the night at venues like The Criterion.
The police claim that the murder is in no way related to Carnival seems very hard to justify indeed. Particularly as the assault happened so near to the heart of the Carnival and within hours of the official end of an event that is well-known for continuing all night. Quite why the police chose hurriedly to deny all of this when their investigation was was just hours old is unclear at present.
Then less than a day later detectives came out with yet another extraordinary claim about the incident. “There are no indications it was racially motivated,” announced Chief Inspector Cath Tarrant.
Really? None at all? Despite the fact the victim was a black Somalian muslim? Despite the fact that there has been a glut of racist incidents reported right across the city involving Somalian victims recently? And despite the fact many such incidents have occurred in St Pauls over a number of years now?
The police’s absolute assurance that the murder was not racially motivated is also contradicted by an anonymous comment that appeared on the Evening Cancer website on Monday. It was there for about a day before editors hurriedly removed it yesterday evening along with a further 17 comments from from another story today.
This anonymous comment made the disturbing claim that the murder victim had got what was coming to him because “he was walking on the wrong side of the street” and he had upset “the real residents of St Pauls” and “their community”. You’d have to go quite a long way to find a more viciously zenophobic outlook than this disturbing statement implies.
And, admittedly, while this anonymous idiot probably had nothing to do with Sunday morning’s murder, they certainly indicate some prevailing attitudes that warrant a little more care and attention than the Avon & Somerset’s insouciant and evidence-free claim that race played no part in this murder provides.
Quite why the police and the authorities, predictably supported by the multicultural Montpelier liberal set, insist on playing down any part St Pauls Carnival or race may have played in this murder is something of a mystery at the moment.
However, anybody who thinks that race relations in this city will be best served over the long term by sweeping difficult or unpalatable issues under the carpet is sadly mistaken. If the police, the authorities, the local race relations industry, Carnival organisers or anyone else are deliberately withholding anything about this incident then they are idiots.
And they can rest assured that their approach will, over time, come back and bite them – and the rest of this city – very, very hard on the arse. The history of race relations proves this time and again.
A man is dead. Let’s hope he is the last.