Two men who killed a Pizza Hut delivery driver then “laughed and joked” as they ate the stolen pizzas have been jailed for a total of 22 years.
Ali Qasemi, 45, was lured to a false address by Mark Lintott and Joel Lawson, floored with a single punch before the pair stole their takeaway order of three pizzas worth just over £50.
The father of two, whose wife Fawzia was pregnant with their third child, hit his head on the ground in the early hours of 8 May and died two days later.
A trial at Peterborough crown court last month heard that the defendants had been drinking lager and using cocaine with friends at Lintott’s Peterborough flat when he phoned Pizza Hut.
He provided a false address in his street, hoping to snatch the delivery without paying for it and without any link to his property, the court heard.
Lintott’s friends had joked it would be funny to see a delivery driver chase them down the street with the stolen pizzas after the “snatch and grab”, said Gregory Perrins, prosecuting.
Lawson, 25, admitted punching Qasemi, but the prosecution argued that Lintott, 29, was equally responsible for Qasemi’s death as they had devised the plan together.
Lawson, who pleaded guilty to robbery and manslaughter, was sentenced at Cambridge crown court on Friday to nine years in prison for manslaughter and four and a half years for robbery to run concurrently.
Lintott, who was found guilty of robbery and manslaughter after a seven-day trial, was sentenced to 13 years in prison for manslaughter and six years for robbery to run concurrently.
There were gasps from the public gallery as Lintott’s sentence was read aloud. In a victim impact statement, Fawzia Qasemi, who was 20 weeks pregnant when her husband was attacked, said he was the “backbone” of the family. She watched the sentencing via videolink from another room because she had her eight-week-old baby with her.
Fawzia Qasemi, who has two other children aged seven and 11, said: “I will never overcome the pain and hurt of losing him in such a tragic way. The fact our baby won’t be able to see him or hold his hand breaks my heart.”
Ali Qasemi was a refugee who fled war in Afghanistan, his wife said, adding that his attackers were “pure evil”. “No matter how far you run to get away from war, you can’t get away from evil,” she said.
Sally Hobson, defending, said Lawson had two children, his partner was expecting a third and he had written a letter of apology to Fawzia Qasemi. Lawson had given evidence against Lintott.
Peter Lownds, representing Lintott, said his client’s intention was to steal the pizzas and there was no prior discussion about punching the delivery driver. He said Lintott was of “low intelligence”.
Both defendants had previous convictions including for violent crimes.
The judge, David Farrell, sentencing, said as Qasemi lay dying, Lintott grabbed the pizzas and the pair fled. “Neither of you showed an ounce of concern for the welfare of the man you had been party to knocking to the ground,” he said. “You both ate the pizzas then laughed and joked about what had just gone on.”
Describing the incident as a “planned robbery” on a vulnerable lone worker, he told the defendants: “You have robbed a family of their father and a wife of her husband. You have robbed them of a hardworking and much-loved man. The harm that you have caused by your behaviour is of the highest level.”
Lawson, formerly of Norwich, and Lintott, of Peterborough, were emotionless as they were led down to the cells.
In a statement released after the hearing, the senior investigating officer, DI Lucy Thomson, said: “This was a sickening, senseless crime, which has caused misery to Mr Qasemi’s wife and her young sons. They have lost a loving, devoted husband and father – devastating their close knit family, all for the price of three pizzas.
“I and my inquiry team send our deepest sympathy to Mrs Qasemi and the boys at this incredibly difficult time.”