Dead strange

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.

This entry was posted in Ashley, Bristol, Bristol Evening Post, Policing, Race. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Dead strange

  1. BristleKRS says:

    Well, you were a good deal less subtle about it than me 😉

    But some good points well made, though I suspect the ‘nothing to do with Carnival’/’Carnival-connected’ angle will ultimately prove a red herring.

    You’ve not mentioned the smoking ban yet though…

  2. Jozer says:

    I thought the same thing when I heard the news on Sunday morning. Very quick to state that it wasn’t racialist, or anything to do with the carnival. I worked with a lot of Somalians over the last few years, and it was common knowledge that there was ethnic tension between them and the Afro-Caribbeans in East Bristol. I dealt with a victim of stabbing one night a few years back. He had been stabbed repeatedly, and was in shock through loss of blood. If we hadn’t noticed him, he would have gone home and could have died. this was bnecause he had gone in to an Afro-Caribbean club.
    As for nothing to do with the carnival? Please! Some decent people may still enjoy this event, but the old image of steel bands, mental multi-coloured costumes etc is fast being replaced by a nasty, litter-strewn drink & drug fest, to a soundtrack of awful ragga/D&B boom-boom-boom. Look at all the litter left the next morning, and remember that most of that was casually dropped on the floor by adults who can’t be bothered to put it in a bin.
    I’ll be quite frank here. The Afro-Caribbean community is behaving towards newer immigrants in exactly the same way as the White community behaved towards them in the 60’s & 70’s, & for the same sort of reasons, and the Council & so-called ‘community leaders’ don’t want to face this.

  3. thebristolblogger says:

    I probably agree with KRS that the carnival angle is a bit of a red herring and just helps the carnival bashers.
    However the indecent haste with which any carnival connection was dismissed tells us something about the kind of politics going on here.

  4. BristleKRS says:

    Andy Bennett’s unscheduled blog – which studiously omits any mention of the murder, whilst making great efforts to point out how fun and crime-free and “relaxed” Carnival was, would certainly tend to support the idea that there’s a rather distasteful snowjob of some degree going on here.

  5. Pingback: Police play spin over Carnival « Bristle’s Blog from the BunKRS

  6. Naphtali says:

    Just to set a few things straight;

    – [this section has been removed as direct speculation on the motives behind this incident may be in contravention of the Contempt of Court Act]

    – the litter left the day after was because of the police needing to search for the murder weapon.

    – why the desire to be so quick to link it to the carnival? The fact remains that the actual carnival this year was very peaceful and crime free. I interviewed the red cross on the day and they said they hardly had to deal with a bee sting let along any victims of violent crime. Why not give credit where it is due? The tragic killing was terrible and I am not downplaying that. The Criterion pub is not “at the heart” of carnival as you suggest, it is on the edge, and carnival did not provide the platform for the killer to strike. If you went to carnival you would have seen people of all types enjoying themselves watching the floats, dancing, eating, watching the bands, etc. It might sound all very liberal but the world would be a very dull place if we were all the grumbling old cynics that I see too often on this blog nowadays! The easy headlines for Daily Mail types (even if you don’t like or accept that stereotype) is to link the killing with carnival, but those of us not so quite to pontificate know life is not that simple.

    – In previous years the carnival has been deafened by the “soundtrack of awful ragga/D&B boom-boom-boom” (as you call it), but this year was different and had a wide range of different types of music being played in the various areas across the carnival.

    – Yes it is grossely depressing that are growing division between the Africvan Caribbean and Somali communities. It is so mindless and ignorant. Be mindful though that your wild speculations on this site about the motivations of the murder are not helping matters as they are widely inaccurate, and are only actually fuelling an already delicate situation. I work a lot in St Pauls and day-to-day the relationship between the African Caribbean and Somali communities isn’t as tense as the headlines would report, but yes it is true that there are some factions of tensions that need to be dealt with at ground level. Your wild speculations here though aren’t helping.

    – “A man is dead. Let’s hope he is the last.” AMEN TO THAT!!!

  7. Jozer says:

    First Ashton Court, now St Pauls carnival. Bristol’s ‘free’ parties being infected by money & politics.
    ‘What makes you so sure it was connected to the Carnival’? Dunno mate. Perhaps that it happened in St Pauls. On the night of the Carnival. In a pub that was open late for the carnival. Probably just a coincidence, right?

  8. Pingback: U-turning and u-turning in the widening mire « The Bristol Blogger

  9. J says:

    Try living in hackney for the last 22 years, sounds like some nice gossip for the villagers of bristol. Fuck your carnival crime, i got mates gettin stabbed for the way they was born 4 seperate shootings at the real carnival last time.

    This is some petty ass blogging

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