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Man Admits Manslaughter over Kurd Race Attack
15/01/2004   Scotsman
A man today admitted the manslaughter of an Iraqi Kurd in an unprovoked racial attack which sparked a high-profile anti-racism protest.

Lee Mordecai, 26, of Bonymaen, Swansea, South Wales, had previously denied murder and was set to be tried before a jury later this month.

He appeared briefly at Swansea Crown Court today to admit the lesser charge before the hearing was adjourned for sentencing next month.

Mordecai killed refugee Kalan Kawa Karim, 29, with a single blow in an attack which shocked the city’s close-knit Kurdish community.

His death sparked a large anti-racism protest in Swansea and led the authorities to divert new refugees from the city in a bid to reassure communities.

Mr Karim, who was married, was later flown back to Iraq and buried in his native town of Dahuk, in the north of the country, last October.

Paul Thomas QC, prosecuting, told the court today the lesser charge of manslaughter had been put forward after discussions with Mr Karim’s family.

Mordecai had attacked Mr Karim late in the evening on September 5 last year, close to a pub in Swansea’s Kingsway area. He died of his injury in hospital.

Mr Thomas today described the violence as “cowardly, underhand and racially motivated” and said Mordecai had been drunk at the time.

He said the prosecution, police and family had been ready to accept an admission of manslaughter for a number of reasons.

“Firstly, there was only one blow, from a fist or open hand, and there was no attempting a repeated or second blow.

“There was no weapon involved and the death resulted from increased pressure on the carotid artery in the neck.”

He added Mordecai had been “intoxicated” at the time and there was no evidence to suggest he had training in martial arts or intended the fatal effect of the blow.

“It would be a proper course here to accept a plea of manslaughter. We have spoken with Mr Karim’s family and they have concurred with it.”

Chris Vosper, defending, said that Mordecai had been listed to stand trial for murder on January 31, a charge he had repeatedly denied.

Discussions with the authorities and Mr Karim’s family had only taken place over Christmas.

Mordecai was then ready to admit the lesser charge which was put to him for the first time today.

“For the sake of explanation, the basis of the plea is lack of intent,” Mr Vosper said.

Judge John Diehl QC adjourned the case for sentencing which, he said, would be some time in the first fortnight of February.

Mordecai was remanded in custody.

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