Appeal 20 Years After Murder Of East Ham Man

19 September 2014, 11:28 | Updated: 19 September 2014, 11:39

Detectives investigating the unsolved murder of a father-of-three in East Ham have joined his family in appealing for information on the 20th anniversary of his death.

Atek Hussain, who was also known as Shelim, was stabbed to death outside his home in Burnels Avenue in the early hours of Sunday, 18 September 1994.

The 32-year-old had spent the evening working at his family-run restaurant - Warlingham Tandoori at The Green, Warlingham, Surrey.

He dropped a couple of employees off in Poplar before arriving home, where he lived with his wife Khudeja and three children, at around 02:35hrs.

It is believed he was attacked as he got out of his blue Vauxhall Cavalier and stabbed in the heart.

Atek managed to tell his family that his attackers were Asian before collapsing. A witness recalled seeing at least two Asian men running in the direction of Hameway.

Atek's daughter Yasmin, now aged 30, recalled that night.

She said: "Dad was soaked in blood. We somehow managed to bring him in. His voice began to fade.

"I put my dad's head in my lap. He was so breathless, he kept on saying 'let me go to sleep'. He was struggling with me as I told him he needed to stay awake, I couldn't let him sleep.

"Then I heard the ambulance coming and more police cars. They told me to go upstairs. I stared at my Dad's face which was turning blue.

"I went back to my bedroom window and opened it wide, desperately trying to see my dad.

"I saw him on a stretcher and his eyes were closed; he was being taken away."

Yasmin said she remembered her father as a friendly kind-hearted man always there for people in need and happy to go out of his way to help others. He was a devoted family man who enjoyed a good joke and loved going on outings with his wife and children.

Recalling life after her father's death, Yasmin added: "I had to stop being a child the day Dad died and grow up. I had to look after my mum, who didn’t know any English, and my brothers.

"We couldn't go back to our family home where the murder had happened and stayed with a mixture of relatives for the first year. Everything was a mess, our whole world had collapsed. I had to get a part-time job at 13 to help ease the cost of living as it was such as struggle.

"But most importantly we missed him. We missed his love, support, his jokes, his cheery demeanour. Our mother was 29 when she became a widow. Her love for our father was unyielding, therefore she never did marry again. My brothers were left without a father figure to guide them through their youth, to help them grow up."

Yasmin and her family are appealing for the public's help on the anniversary of Atek's death.

She said: "Every moment of our lives we think about our dad because we know whoever did this to him is still somewhere and not been given justice for the hole they have left in our lives.

"We need help from every person possible to help us go back 20 years and think for a second if they remember anything. We are sure someone must know something and have a very deep secret they are repenting.

"Why would anyone want to kill a loving person? Why would anyone want to make our mum a widow at 29? And take the shelter of our father from us and take our rock from us? Every day we live we will not rest until we find out dad's killers.

"My dad had wanted us to be educated and successful so we could look after him and mum in their old age. We have succeeded and fulfilled our dad's dream. The determination to achieve this was even greater due to the circumstances and we hope we have made him very proud. Ideally we would like him back to celebrate this with him, however finding his killers would be second best."

The motive for the murder remains unclear although it appeared to be a planned attack and robbery is a line of enquiry - Atek was responsible for the takings at the restaurant and had almost £1,000 about his person that night.

No cash was stolen but fellow workers at the restaurant said Atek had a bag (containing washing) with him - if he did, that bag has never been recovered.

Another line of enquiry is around a denim jacket found in the churchyard of St Mary Magdalene in Norman Road, close to the scene of the murder. It's not thought the jacket had been there very long.

Investigating officer Acting Detective Inspector Chris Pattrick, from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: "Twenty years is a long time and things change. Perhaps you, or someone you know, were on the periphery of what happened that night.

"Was the motive to steal cash but did things get out of hand? Have you heard anything about this incident over the years? Allegiances change and it may be that someone who didn't feel they could come forward at the time is now prepared to do so.

"For the sake of Atek's family we would ask anyone who can help to please get in touch."

Anyone with information is asked to contact the incident room on 020 8345 3775 or, if you wish to remain anonymous, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.