Teens boasted about ‘going to rob a taxi’ before Mohammed Istakhar murder in Solihull

A court heard taxi driver Mohammed Istakhar had “the misfortune” of picking up the teenagers as a fare after they had been on a night out in Birmingham city centre
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Two teenagers stabbed taxi driver Mohammed Istakhar and stole his car after boasting in a nightclub about “going to rob a taxi”, a court heard.

Luca de Fazio, 18, and Oliver Pugh, 19, are accused of murdering Mohammed Istakhar, 46, after luring him to a remote country lane so they could steal his vehicle.

A court heard the dad-of-five had “the misfortune” of picking up the teenagers as a fare after they had been on a night out in Birmingham city centre. The pair told him to drive to Braggs Farm Lane in Solihull, where they pretended to go and fetch the cash to pay for the taxi, jurors were told.

It is claimed they returned armed with knives where one of them stabbed Mr Istakhar through the heart before stealing his Vauxhall Insignia. Mr Istakhar was found in a pool of blood along the country lane by another motorist at around 6.30am on November 29 last year.

But nothing could be done to save the taxi driver despite the efforts of paramedics who rushed to the scene near Earlsdon Lakes reservoir.

De Fazio, of no fixed address, and Pugh, of Solihull, went on trial today (Monday, 12 June) accused of murder at Birmingham Crown Court.

Prosecutor Mark Heywood KC said:“The victim had the misfortune to bring these two defendants from Birmingham city centre.

“It is the prosecution case that a plan was formed between the two to direct the taxi to a remote spot.” Mr Heywood said they went to a caravan “on the pretext of getting money to pay the fare”.

He added: “When they returned they returned with knives using one of them to attack him. “Despite his efforts to defend himself he was fatally stabbed in the heart.”

Mohammed Istakhar's devastated family have paid tribute to himMohammed Istakhar's devastated family have paid tribute to him
Mohammed Istakhar's devastated family have paid tribute to him

He said the taxi driver suffered defensive wounds to his left arm and right finger. But he was also stabbed in his right thigh and his chest, the blade going into his heart. Mr Heywood said earlier in the evening both De Fazio and Pugh had been at Rosies night club in Broad Street where they met a woman.

Mr Heywood said after they left the club Pugh had asked her if she was a “snitch.” He added: “She said ‘no’ and he told her ‘I am going to rob a taxi.’ “She assumed he was not being serious and she left.” He said CCTV later captured the defendants running after Mr Istakhar in the lane and then coming back into view.

Mr Heywood said: “What happened that lead to the defendants turning back so quickly only they know.

“It is likely they caught up with Mr Istakhar. It is likely in those few seconds of CCTV where we see Mr Istakhar he had already been attacked and he had either suffered the leg wound or the heart wound or both.

“He was bleeding so extensively he left a trail of blood.”

Mr Heywood said the victim’s phone was thrown from his car and the defendants removed the badging and stickers from the vehicle.

The court heard two men found the victim in the street as they were driving along Braggs Farm Lane later that morning.

Oliver PughOliver Pugh
Oliver Pugh

Mr Heywood added: “They came across the body of a man who was lying face down in the road.

“They stopped their car and went to see what could be done.”

He said the man initially had no sign of obvious injury but then they noticed there was blood on the road and it appeared he had been stabbed.

The pair both deny murder while Pugh has also pleaded not guilty to possession of a blade. The trial continues.

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