Police cleared over gang stabbing probe

Tarek Chaiboub'SHOOTING VICTIM
Tarek Chaiboub'SHOOTING VICTIM

POLICE officers have been cleared of wrongdoing over the way they handled an investigation into the stabbing of a Sheffield teenager who was shot dead five days later.

The family of 17-year-old Tarek Chaiboub complained to the Independent Police Complaints Commission about the way the first investigation was handled.

Tarek, of Castledine Gardens, Wincobank, was ambushed and stabbed outside his home on July 6, 2008, after members of the S3 postcode gang with whom he was associated held him responsible for causing the near-fatal stabbing of another gang member.

Tarek survived but, five days later, was fatally gunned down at a Burngreave barber’s shop, in an assassination ordered by S3 member Nigel Ramsey.

The IPCC has ruled officers did all they could, given their investigation was hampered by Tarek’s own lack of co-operation after his stabbing.

But his father Rashid Chaiboub, 49, told The Star today: “I can’t believe the findings - I still believe my son was let down.

“Tarek was killed three years ago but to me it still feels like yesterday. Tarek should still be alive.

“All I want is for somebody to say sorry. We all make mistakes and I just want those involved in investigating the stabbing to hold their hands up. I don’t think they did enough.”

The IPCC probe found officers did repeatedly try to elicit more information from Tarek at his house, in the ambulance and at hospital but Tarek was unwilling to help.

Checks on Tarek’s background did not flag him up as someone known to police and there was nothing recorded to suggest a reason for the stabbing or to indicate his life may be in danger.

Officers told IPCC investigators they offered to have an alarm or camera installed at Tarek’s home, to give him a personal alarm and have his address tagged on police computer systems.

They say the teenager turned the offers down, a claim disputed by Tarek’s father.

IPCC Commissioner Nicholas Long said: “Tarek Chaiboub’s murder was one of a number of incidents that brought the terrible spectre of gang violence in Sheffield into the national headlines.

“It gave an insight into a culture where the carrying of weapons, violence and murder is a shocking normality.

“My sympathies go out again to Tarek’s father and his family.

“He tried to do the best for his son and his sense of despair at what Tarek had become involved in was evident. Within the space of a week he had to deal with him being badly injured in a stabbing and then murdered.

“It is entirely understandable one of his reactions was to question whether South Yorkshire Police had done enough.

“However the fact Tarek was associated with gang culture may have influenced his response to police questioning when he was stabbed. It is clear he and his friends did not co-operate or assist the police investigation.

“Our investigation has shown the officers were following lines of inquiry, speaking to relevant people, and checking intelligence.

“With hindsight, some lines of inquiry, such as Tarek himself, could have been pursued more vigorously. But after his initial unwillingness to assist the investigation he was not spoken to again in the five days before his murder.”

He said investigations could sometimes benefit from being checked by colleagues, but added: “Within the tight time period between Tarek’s stabbing and his murder it is highly unlikely it could have made any difference.”

Nigel Ramsey, now 24, was in prison when he used a smuggled mobile phone to command Tarek’s murder.

Ramsey, known on the streets as The General, recruited his brother Denzil Ramsey, 21, neighbour Levan Menzies, 18, and pal Michael Chattoo, 23, to attack Tarek.

All four were later jailed for a total of 110 years after being convicted of Tarek’s murder, but this year won the right to challenge their convictions.