Tag Archives: Criterion

What’s your poisson? Best April Fool’s pranks of the day

A couple in particular have tickled me today.

First off there was Bristol Culture with its ‘Costa Coffee takes over Brunel’s Buttery‘ story – just all too believable! I worked myself into a proper rage before I realised…

Then there’s arthouse video specialists Criterion, who went with a pair of Arnie-themed chain-yankers – firstly with a picture of Akira Kurosawa visiting Arnold Schwarzenegger on the set of Kindergarten Cop, and then the exciting news that that very film would be getting the full on three disc special edition treatment (“New audio commentary featuring Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, author of It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Can Teach Us”).

Any other decent ones you’ve come across?

Criterion: April sentenced

April Bright, who was yesterday found guilty of the murder of Mohamoud Muse Hassan, was today sentenced to life, with a minimum tariff of twelve years.

She is eighteen years old.

Justice Roderick Evans, at Bristol Crown Court, said he hoped that, in handing down the minimum term of 12 years, it would deter other teenagers from equipping themselves with knives.

Sentencing Bright, the judge said there was no excuse for anyone to arm themselves with a knife.

“When you went out on carnival night you took with you a knife, that you told the jury was for your own protection,” he said.

“That is no possible justification for taking a knife.

“The carrying of knives is a matter of grave public concern and the presence of knives on our streets in clubs, pubs and in the hands of young people of your age so often leads to serious injury or in this case death.

“A slight, an insult, an inappropriate behaviour, real or imagined, so often leads to the production of a knife and to the consequences in this case.”

Bristol Evening Post

Criterion: April convicted

April Bright was convicted of the murder of Mohamoud Muse Hassan today. She has yet to be sentenced.

Criterion: The trial

Last year, the (mostly) annual St. Paul’s Carnival was put back from its usual slot in July to September, due to police pressure. In the early hours of Sunday 16th September following Carnival, a man died, having been stabbed at the Criterion pub on Lower Ashley Road. That man was Mohamoud Muse Hassan.

For the past week or so, a young woman has been on trial for his murder at Bristol Crown Court, having already admitted manslaughter. That woman is April Bright.

Today I went down to watch proceedings, for the simple reason that this happened in my neighbourhood, and that the accused is a neighbour. There’s not really much to say, except that it’s a sad case in which many lives have been touched in horrible ways.

This morning there were three witnesses. First was Ms Bright’s friend Courtney Wood, who was presented with a verbal statement he had made to police on the day of the killing, as well as a subsequent statement made this October. Mr Wood had great difficulty recalling details of the day after Carnival, of his talking with police that day, and of the October interview. He did, however, accept that Ms Bright had told him about the incident with Mr Hassan. He denied that she had told him that Mr Hassan had been sexually harassing her, though he said others had told him that. Mr Wood often answered questions “I don’t know,” or “I can’t really remember”.

The second witness was Roy Burnett. He had been at the Blue Mountain until the early hours of the Sunday morning. After leaving the club at around 2:40am, he headed down Wilder Street with a friend in a car, where he spotted Ms Bright with a man called Eldon. Mr Burnett approached Eldon, but he ran off. Mr Burnett asked Ms Bright to get him back, but according to him, she became aggressive and pulled out a large, kitchen-style knife, at which point he pushed her away by the throat, and then left the area. The defence suggested that he had punched her in the face, but Mr Burnett denied this, asking in retort, “Did she have any marks?”, and insisting he had pushed her away by the throat.

The third witness was Simon Curran. He had been at Carnival during the day with his girlfriend and her friend, and then later at the Blue Mountain. On leaving the Blue Mountain some time around 4am, the three walked down Wilder Street. Here there was an altercation with a young woman who broadly matched the description of Ms Bright, in which a large, kitchen-style knife was brandished, with which Mr Curran’s girlfriend was nicked in the face. Mr Curran had a distinctive way of talking. When asked a question, he would often preface his reply, “I believe I said in my statement…” He described the woman he came across on Wilder Street as “petite, slight.”

Also presented by the prosecution were witness statements from a friend of Ms Bright [ETA: Kasmira Conlon], who had been with her and her family for most of Carnival evening, and who had been in Tasties when two Somali men had been harrassing Ms Bright and her friends, and later at the Criterion when Mr Hassan staggered out of the pub with his neck wound. She was in the area still when the emergency services arrived, with the police taping off the scene. She saw Ms Bright there, and described her as looking “pissed off”.

One thing in particular from the day’s evidence does stick out: a statement from one police officer [ETA: PC Jeremy Cowburn] was read out. In it he detailed how he was on duty on the Sunday afternoon following Carnival, in the aftermath of Mr Hassan’s killing. He described being in a patrol car with a colleague, which had responded to a call on Brunswick Square. On leaving Brunswick Square, they drove up Upper York Street towards Stokes Croft, where he spotted Ms Bright and Mr Wood by the billboard at the junction of City Road, Stokes Croft and Upper York Street. The officer describes Ms Bright turning away from him as if to hide her face. The officer says he recognised her from having previously seen her picture. The police car turned left onto Stokes Croft, then all the way around the St. James’ Barton roundabout and up Stokes Croft again, and then turning right onto City Road, down which he could see Mr Wood walking on his own, with Ms Bright nowhere to be seen. It was here that Mr Wood is said to have told police that he had just been with Ms Bright, that she had told him about Mr Hassan’s death earlier that day, and that she had gestured with her hands in a manner which suggested a stabbing motion. Today Mr Wood could not recall such details.

Yet Upper York Street between Moon Street and City Road is one-way; only traffic either making a right turn from Stokes Croft or a left turn from City Road can turn down it. Traffic going up Upper York Street must turn left onto Moon Street, which leads to the North Street end of Stokes Croft outside the Blue Mountain and by St. James’ Barton roundabout.

The trial is still going on, so I guess I can’t really say much more about some of what went on in the court, or outside, or what happened around here when it was all going on last September. All in all it’s a sad little affair, with no winners.

The Evening Post’s reportage of the court proceedings:

My blog posts about the killing from last year:

Edited 5pm 25/11/08 for typos, to add names and latest Post link
Last edited 1pm 3/12/08 to add latest Post link

What are they looking for?

Police looking around Backfields Industrial Estate

A handful of police were noseying around the Backfields Industrial Estate in St. Paul’s this afternoon.

The site, which is being redeveloped into flats and commercial premises by Knightstone Housing Association, has been seeing more and more activity from contractors and surveyors in recent days, so just what is it that the boys in blue were looking for?

PS There are now five police officers with sticks prodding around the car park and communal garden of Wilder Court, the housing estate which backs onto Backfields Industrial Estate.

Given that it’s pissing down with rain, one presumes that it must be fairly important… Could this be connected to the suggestion that one or more tenants there are either related to Mohamoud Muse Hassan, the Somali man stabbed to death in the Criterion early on Sunday morning, or to one of the three people thus far arrested in connection with the murder?

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Criterion: another arrest, girl charged

From the BBC News website (9:14am):

A 17-year-old girl has been charged with murdering a man inside a public house in Bristol.

Mohamoud Muse Hassan, 35, died after being stabbed in the neck at the Criterion pub in the St Paul’s area of the city in the early hours of Sunday.

The teenager is due to appear before Bristol magistrates on Wednesday.

A 22-year-old man is still being questioned on suspicion of murder. Another 22-year-old man had been released on bail, police said.

Based on A&S press release (8:10am):

A 17-year-old female will appear before Bristol Magistrates this morning charged with the murder of 35-year-old Mohamoud Muse Hassan, at a Bristol pub at the weekend.

Mr Hussan died during the early hours of Sunday morning, September 16, after being stabbed at the Criterion public house in Ashley Road, St Paul’s.

Yesterday detectives also arrested a 22-year-old man in connection with the murder of Mr Hussan.

That man remains in custody today pending further interview.

He is not the same 22-year-old man who was previously arrested in connection with this incident; that man remains on bail pending further enquiries.

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Criterion: ‘Post’ murder analysis impedes investigation?

Evening Post ‘ANIMALS’ coverPolice investigating the murder in the Criterion early on Sunday morning are appealing for mobile phone camera footage to help identify Mohamoud Muse Hassan’s killer.

Mobile phone footage from people who were in the St Paul’s area during the early hours of Sunday morning (September 16) is being sought as part of a murder investigation.

Detectives investigating the murder of Mohamoud Muse Hassan are appealing for anyone who may have taken photographs or videos inside or outside the Criterion pub between midnight and 4am on Sunday. Anyone who has any other imagery that may be of use to the investigating team is also urged to come forward.

It is believed many people were taking pictures on their mobile phones throughout the Saturday evening and into Sunday which could help identify the person responsible for Mr Hassan’s death.

On Sunday police seized CCTV footage from the pub and surrounding area as part of their investigation.

Anyone who may have footage or any information that could assist the murder investigation is urged to contact Bristol CID on 0845 4567000.

(Avon & Somerset Constabulary press release, filed 11:43am)

Not sure that today’s Evening Post story (with its hysterical headline ‘ANIMALS’ – shades of the infamous ‘FACES OF EVIL’ front cover) is going to be helpful in encouraging potential witnesses to step forward. The article claims that:

A paramedic…was grabbed by her hair and pulled out of an ambulance by a mob when she tried to treat a dying man.

Sarah Hodierne and her colleague Wayne Evans were first on the scene after a 999 call to The Criterion pub in St Paul’s early on Sunday.

…Ms Hodierne was dragged from the ambulance – and as she tried to resuscitate him she and Mr Evans were surrounded by a crowd of up to 100 people who jostled, shouted and jeered them.

The BBC News website corroborates, but avoids the hyperbole of the Post.

A reader commenting on the incident, Alfredo Quantinas, questions the Post‘s version:

I was at the carnival on Saturday and was in the Prince of Wales pub [which is opposite the Criterion] when the incident happened, I saw the ambulance arrive and did not see anyone pull any paramedic out of the ambulance – this has been blown out of all proportion – if anything the ‘animals’ (your quote) were trying to direct the ambulance in as there was waiting traffic, there was a crowd of people around the dying man but the police had not cleared the area around the incident.

Meanwhile, of the two people arrested on suspicion of murder, the twenty-two year old man has been bailed, whilst the seventeen year-old girl remains in custody. (A&S [10:27am]; BBC [12:51pm])

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