Romford man and dad cleared of murder
PUBLISHED: 14:23 29 October 2010 | UPDATED: 15:55 12 November 2010
A FATHER and son who are serving a 15-year sentence for paralysing a rival were today (Friday October 29) cleared of causing his death three years later amid uproar at the Old Bailey.
Matthew, 33, from Goresway, Romford, and dad Philip Ali, 53, of Manford Way, Chigwell, attacked Richard Cabby, then 34, with a baseball bat, lump hammer and knife on Christmas Day 2005.
The blows to his head crushed the right side of his face, fracturing almost every bone, fractured the back of his skull and burst his eyeball which left him partially sighted.
He also suffered a punctured lung and a fractured spine that rendered him paraplegic, plus multiple stab wounds.
Despite his appalling injuries Mr Cabby survived for more than two years due to skilled medical intervention and care.
In January 2007 the two Alis went on trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court and were found guilty of attempted murder.
However Mr Cabby needed repeated hospital treatment and daily nursing care and he died on February 14 2008, aged 36, from septicaemia, brought on by infected pressure sores which had worn away his skin down to the bone.
Within weeks prosecutors applied to re-charge the Alis with murder, because a pathologist ruled his death occurred as a direct result of the injuries he sustained in the attack.
The matter was reviewed by the Crown Prosecution Service and prosecution counsel before a dossier of papers were sent to the Attorney General for consideration.
In the autumn of 2008 it was agreed that it was in the public interest for Ali and Ali to be re-tried.
If they had been found guilty they would have made British legal history.
Both Alis denied murder and claimed Mr Cabby had contributed to his own death by being difficult with nurses and failing to follow medical advice.
Jurors took just two hours to clear the men of murder after a four-day trial.
As the verdict was announced the court descended into scenes described by one court official to “a riot on the The Jeremy Kyle Show.”
Family and friends of the two Alis shouted out their support from the public gallery while the victim’s sister hurled abuse from the well of court.
Judge Gerald Gordon QC ordered the gallery to be cleared and the Alis were taken down to the cells.
Both men have been given an earliest possible release date of 2015.
Prosecutor Anthony Orchard told the court the circumstances of Mr Cabby’s death meant it was “an unusual criminal case”.
“If he had died soon after the attack, as he would have done but for those dedicated medical professionals, the defendants would have been charged with his murder,” he said.
“In fact they were charged with his attempted murder and in January 2007 they were tried by a jury and convicted of his attempted murder.
“If the reality is that these defendants caused his death, all be it delayed because of medical treatment he received, then they not just guilty of attempted murder but also his murder.
“The law allows them to be prosecuted for his murder, not withstanding they have already been convicted of the attempt.”
Mr Cabby was ambushed by the Alis and an unknown third male around 11am when they ran his Ford Transit van off the road at the junction of Bennetts Castle Lane and Green Lane in Dagenham, east London.
Mr Cabby had been in dispute with Matthew Ali’s wife Kelly Hall, his former partner, over access to their two children who he had not seen since the relationship broke down in 2001
He was described as a “violent man” and she had not informed him where she was living with the children.
Before Christmas 2005 Mr Cabby had made telephone threats to Miss Hall’s mother Carol Cockburn and demanded to see his children.
He also threatened to kill Matthew Ali, who refused any police involvement in the matter.
Instead Ali and his father Phillip decided to ‘put an end’ to Mr Cabby themselves.
Mr Orchard said: “These two defendants and one other man who had not been identified committed an act of violence of utter brutality.
“They lured Cabby to where they were waiting for him in a main road in Dagenham. They forced the van he was driving off the road, they dragged him out of the van and beat him and stabbed him and hit him and kicked him.
“They aimed their blows with the baseball bat and the knife and lump hammer to the face and body as he lay helpless on the ground.
“They inflicted on him the most appalling injuries and they left him for dead, lying face up in the road.”
Mr Cabby was rushed to the Royal London Hospital and needed emergency surgery to save his life because his depressed skull was pushing on his brain.
Doctors later rebuilt his face, but he was left paralysed below the waist and had no feeling or movement in his legs.
Mr Cabby also had no control over his bowels and required daily nursing care. He remained in inpatient until April 2006 when he was allowed home.
However he was “far from a model patient” and struggled to come to terms with the severity of his injuries. He could be aggressive and unpleasant and often did not follow medical advice.
He was later admitted back in to hospital in November 2006 for surgery, in May 2007 because of sepsis caused by an infected pressure sore and again in July 2007.
Mr Cabby was monitored daily by district nurses who cleaned and dressed his sores on his backside, lower back and heels.
Because of his disability he was unable to see or feel his worsening pressure sores.
On February 9 2008 he was admitted to hospital, the sores having worn the skin down to the bone, and he died five days later.
A pathologist gave the cause of death as septicaemia as a result of infected pressure ulcers which were brought on by his paralysis.
“The fractured spine these defendants caused led to the pressure sores because he couldn’t move,” said Mr Orchard.
“His incontinence led to his ulcers being infected, his bones being infected and his blood being infected and he died.
“A direct cause or link from the injuries inflicted in the original assault and Mr Cabby’s untimely death.”
The Alis denied murder on the grounds of causation.