UK police 'failed' murdered Iranian refugee


A disabled Iranian refugee sheltering in the U.K. called police 85 times over a seven-year period about threats and intimidation before being murdered by a neighbor in 2013, an investigation has revealed.

A report published on Wednesday by the U.K.'s Independent Police Complaints Committee (IPCC) said officers failed 44-year-old Bijan Ebrahimi who had repeatedly complained of death threats, racist abuse and vandalism at his home in Bristol, south-west England.

Wednesday's report said officers had failed to protect Ebrahimi and accused Avon and Somerset police of neglecting to record crimes against him on at least 40 occasions.

The victim had been treated "consistently differently from his neighbors" on the basis of "racial bias, conscious or unconscious", the IPCC found.

Lee James, 24, beat Ebrahimi to death and then set his body alight with the help of another neighbor. He was convicted of murder and given a life sentence in November 2013.

In the days before the murder, the Iranian man had called police to say James had broken into his home and threatened him. Officers instead arrested Ebrahimi, whose neighbors had wrongly suspected of being a pedophile.

Ebrahimi was interviewed at a police station but later released from custody.

Two days later, on July 14, his body was found burning on a nearby road.

The IPCC said although James was responsible for Ebrahimi's murder, police "missed a significant number of opportunities" to intervene.

"The constabulary failed Bijan Ebrahimi on a number of levels, over a number of years. This failure was at its worst at the very time that his need was greatest," IPCC commissioner Jan Williams said.

"Our investigation identified a series of poor police service responses that spanned at least seven years, and that exposed the constabulary's failure to identify Bijan Ebrahimi as a vulnerable man in need of protection and support," she added.

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