Killer is convicted of murdering his sister’s brother-in-law before dumping his body in abandoned car
- Najeebullah Nekzad, 19, was found dead in a grey Fiat Punto on August 31, 2019
- Gol Zazai, 29, was convicted of Mr Nekzad’s murder at Leeds Crown Court
- He will return to court in March 2022 where he will be sentenced for murder
A killer who strangled his sister’s brother-in-law before dumping his body in an abandoned car has been found guilty of murder.
A PCSO found young dad Najeebullah Nekzad, 19, dead in a grey Fiat Punto on New Hey Road in Scammonden, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, on August 31, 2019.
Gol Zazai, whose sister is married to Mr Nekzad’s older brother, Nasrullah Nekzad, has been found guilty of murder after a trial at Leeds Crown Court.
Nasrullah Nekzad was also interviewed in connection with his brother’s death but fled to his native Afghanistan, the court heard.
Jurors heard a member of the public had spotted the car three days prior to the grim discovery and told West Yorkshire Police.
Nekzad’s death was confirmed by medics shortly after the PCSO found his body and detectives launched an investigation.
Nasrullah Nekzad was quizzed by police as a possible suspect but fled to Afghanistan where he remains, prosecutor Alistair MacDonald said.
Zazai, 29, of Albemarle Terrace in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, was also questioned and was eventually charged with the murder almost two years later.
Mr MacDonald said a call was made to police shortly before 9am on August 30.
He told jurors the lay-by was in a ‘remote location’, adding that it was ‘unusual for cars to be left there overnight’.
Mr MacDonald said the Fiat was parked at a ‘rather odd angle’ with its bonnet facing the moors.
Mr MacDonald said: ‘On August 31, a PCSO was dispatched to investigate that vehicle which was a silver Fiat Punto.
‘She discovered the body of a man in the front passenger seat. The seat had been fully reclined and the back windows were the ones that were darkened.
‘The officer was unable to wake the man and it became apparent he was cold to the touch and rigor mortis had set in.
‘There was also an injury to the neck of the man in the passenger seat.
‘Paramedics were called and after the necessary checks, they confirmed the man was indeed dead.’
The Fiat was found to be registered in the name of Nasrullah Nekzad, who worked with his brother at the Chick Corner takeaway on Old Street, Ashton-under-Lyne.
Meanwhile, police continued to investigate Mr Nekzad’s death and three ligature marks were found on his neck.
Mr MacDonald told the court there were ‘signs of sustained pressure to the neck by means of a ligature’.
Mr MacDonald told jurors: ‘In ordinary terms, Najeebullah Nekzad had been strangled.’
He said a ligature that matched the dimensions of the marks on Mr Nekzad’s neck was found nearby in a car park on the moors.
Mr MacDonald said: ‘It’s the prosecution case that there were two men who killed Najeebullah Nekzad.
‘The first one was his older brother and the second was this defendant, Gol Zazai. Only one man sits in the dock.
‘That is because at an earlier stage of the inquiry and after he had been interviewed Nasrullah Nekzad, the brother of the deceased, left the UK and returned to his native Afghanistan.
‘The prosecution say both these men were in this crime together and it matters not that one of the men isn’t here to be tried.
‘Why does the prosecution say Gol Zazai is guilty of this crime of murder?
‘Because through the period leading up to the death of Najeebullah Nekzad, he and the brother of the deceased were with Najeebullah and they were the last people to see him alive and, in the case of Gol Zazai, told lies about when he had last seen him.
‘These lies, say the prosecution, have no purpose but to conceal his involvement in the death of Najeebullah Nekzad.’
Jurors were told that Nasrullah Nekzad was married to Mr Zazai’s sister.
It was revealed the Nekzad brothers had been working at Chick Corner on August 27 and into the early hours of August 28.
Mr MacDonald said Nasrullah Nekzad was at the family home at around 4.15am but made phone calls to both his younger brother and Zazai.
The prosecution said that Zazai met Nasrullah Nekzad at around 4.30am.
Mr MacDonald said that around an hour later, at 5.34am, a Chevrolet Spark driven by Zazai pulled up at a petrol station on Manchester Road, Huddersfield, and was later joined by the Fiat driven by Mr Nekzad.
The prosecutor added that it is the Crown’s case that Nasrullah Nekzad was a front-seat passenger in the Fiat being driven by his younger brother.
Both cars are said to have left the petrol station and travelled in the direction of Manchester and the last sighting of Mr Nekzad alive was at 6.10am.
The two cars passed the former Nont Sarah’s pub at 6.26am. Mr MacDonald added that the two cars remained in the vicinity of New Hey Road until 7.17am.
He said it is the Crown’s position that in that 51-minute period the two men killed Mr Nekzad.
Jurors were then told the two cars travelled in tandem through nearby areas, including Holmfirth and Glossop, and the final sighting of the two cars driving together was at 9.21am.
The prosecution say it was Nasrullah Nekzad who was driving the Fiat during this period with his brother’s lifeless body ‘slumped’ in the front passenger seat.
The two cars travelled together for a period of three hours before the Chevrolet driven by Zazai was seen on its own for the first time at the Old Post Office at 10.02am.
Mr MacDonald said this gave Nasrullah Nekzad and Zazai a two-minute window to ‘dump the body’ in the Fiat in the lay-by.
At 10.22am the Chevrolet was traced to an address on Henrietta Street, Ashton-under-Lyne, near both Nasrullah Nekzad and Zazai’s home addresses.
Just one minute later, Nasrullah Nekzad was seen to arrive back at his home around the corner.
Mr Nekzad never returned home, Mr MacDonald added.
His body had been partially covered by a black top that had Zazai’s DNA on it. Zazai was interviewed by police for the first time on September 13, 2019, and denied having any involvement in Mr Nekzad’s death.
He told detectives the last time he had seen him was during prayer at their mosque on August 23.
Zazai was interviewed for a second time on June 29, this year, during which he was shown CCTV footage from the petrol station.
He said he could not remember what happened and that they had driven to the petrol station to get fuel.
He also said Mr Nekzad had been upset about a death in the family and that he had left and ‘didn’t want to come back’.
Mr MacDonald said these were all lies to cover up his involvement.
Mr MacDonald asked jurors: ‘Surely he would want to tell the truth and help the police in any way he could?’
Zazai will be sentenced on March 8.