Bijan Ebrahimi: what happened to the disabled Iranian refugee - and when is ‘Murdered by a Mob’ on channel 5?

The documentary will explore the brutal and tragic murder of Bijan Ebrahimi in 2013

A new Channel 5 documentary ‘Murdered by a Mob’ will explore the tragic murder of Bujan Ebrahimi.

The Iranian refugee was murdered by a gang of residents on his council estate in 2013, after false allegations of paedophilia were made against him.

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Here’s all you need to know about what happened in the tragic case of Bijan Embrahimi.

Bijan Ebrahimi was a Iranian refugee who settled in Bristol originally in 2000 (Ebrahimi Family)

Who was Bijan Ebrahimi?

Bijan Ebrahimi was a Iranian refugee who settled in Bristol originally in 2000, to “make a better life for himself”, but soon became a target for his neighbours.

He was also registered as disabled due to an acute back problem.

The 44-year-old reported receiving death threats and racial abuse from his neighbours for seven years. Between 2007 and 2013, Ebrahimi had phoned the police more than 70 times, reporting recurring incidents that left him concerned for his safety.

Bijan Ebrahimi was a Iranian refugee who settled in Bristol originally in 2000 (Ebrahimi Family)

One such incident, taking place a few days before his death, saw a mob gather outside his house. When the police were called, Ebrahimi was the one arrested.

The threats weren’t taken seriously, and in 2013 Ebrahimi was beaten to death and burned on a Bristol council estate.

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What happened to Bigan Ebrahimi?

The events leading up to Ebrahimi’s death began with a false rumour.

Ebrahimi was rehoused following accusations that he was a paedophile, after residents at his former home organised a petition to have him moved.

Instead of moving Ebrahimi to a location further away from the complainant’s estate, he was shifted a few miles up the road, leading to the same rumours and accusations following him to his new home.

Ebrahimi called the police 78 times to ask for help after receiving threats and racial abuse.

Residents of the housing estate in Brislington, south Bristol, claimed the complaints had nothing to do with racism.

Tam McSevney, who lived opposite Ebrahimi at the time of his murder, said: “He would complain about anything.

“He complained about somebody’s music. He’d complain about the kids playing football, making noise and damaging his plant pots.”

However, the animosity from his neighbours continued to grow, with the rumours turning violent.

In July 2013, Ebrahimi was caught filming neighbour Lee James drinking beer while playing with his young daughters — it would later emerge he was actually taking pictures to document harassment he was receiving.

After spotting him, James wrongly believed that Embrahimi had been recording his children and burst into his flat.

Ebrahimi filmed the angry confrontation in his kitchen, in which Lee can be seen threatening to "f*** him up".

After the incident, the Iranian refugee called the police, with PC Leanne Winter and PC Helen Harris arriving to find Lee James crying with anger and frothing at the mouth.

Ebrahimi was subsequently arrested for breaching the peace. He was released from custody the following day.

He proceeded to make 12 calls to the police non-emergency number 101 whilst a mob surrounded his home accusing him of being a paedophile. The pleas for help were ignored.

Ebrahimi was violently murdered, with James repeatedly stamping on Embrahimi’s head. His body was then dragged out in the street where it was doused in white spirit and set alight.

Who were Bijan Ebrahimi’s killers?

Twenty-four-year-old Lee James was sentenced to at least 18 years in prison in late 2013. The judge described the crime as “an act of murderous injustice”.

Stephen Norley, then aged 25, was given a lesser sentence of four years in prison for “assisting an offender”.

An investigation was conducted by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), and found that Avon and Somerset’s police force treated Ebrahimi “consistently differently from his neighbours” through “racial bias, conscious or unconscious”.

Two police officers were jailed as a result of their misconduct in Ebrahimi’s case, and two other officers were dismissed from the Avon and Somerset force.

In 2016, PCs Helen Harris and Leanne Winter were dismissed from the force

In a letter to Mr Ebrahimi's family, Bristol mayor Marvin Rees apologised.

He said: "We accept all of the findings of the Safer Bristol-commissioned independent review, including evidence of both discriminatory behaviour and institutional racism on the part of Bristol City Council.

"We appreciate that no amount of lessons learned or changes in practice can possibly mitigate the impact this had on Bijan and his family."

When can I watch Murdered by a Mob?

Murdered by a Mob will air on Channel 5 at 9pm on 19 May.