A doorman who killed a “dearly loved” student doctor with a single punch as he acted as a peacemaker was today jailed for four-and-a-half years.
Nojan Kafi, 36, was sentenced at Manchester Crown Court, Crown Square, for killing Emmanuel Simon in Rusholme in January 2020. The court heard that Kafi, who had no previous convictions, was off-duty at the Dubai Cafe on Wilmslow Road in the early hours of Sunday, January 26, when 33-year-old student doctor Emmanuel, originally from Eritrea in Africa, visited the establishment with friends after celebrating a wedding.
Peter Cadwallader, prosecuting, told the hearing a disturbance broke out at around 5am, after some of the group had been allowed in whilst others had been refused entry, with the group heading back out onto the street. Emmanuel had his arms raised in a “peaceful gesture” when Kafi pushed and tripped another man before walking up and punched the student doctor in the jaw – knocking him to the ground where he hit his head and fell unconscious.
READMORE: ‘Amazing’ woman, 28, dies in head-on crash after ‘eating KFC’ while driving
The punch sparked a mass brawl in the street, with Kafi quickly rushing to his victim’s side and putting him into the recovery position. Emmanuel was taken to hospital where he unfortunately never regained consciousness, and died on February 10, two weeks after the attack, from his injuries to his brain.
Mr Cadwallader read a statement from Emmanuel’s brother to the court. He said: “It has been a trying year for the family because of the actions perpetrated by Kafi. [Emmanuel’s brother] made remarks about the generosity of Emmanuel coming to this country, studying to join the NHS, something he won’t be able to do now, and the pain and suffering that has been experienced by the family as a result of this case.”
Simon Csoka, defending, asked for credit to be given to his defendant, as Kafi handed himself in to officers on the day Greater Manchester Police issued a CCTV appeal for information about Emmanuel’s death. He also urged Judge Nicholas Dean QC, Honorary Recorder for Manchester, to consider that it is impossible to determine exactly how the incident was sparked due to a lack of CCTV footage from before the group left Dubai Cafe.
Mr Csoka also said Kafi had a “deep understanding and shame” around what happened, and would regret his actions for the rest of his life. Kafi pleaded guilty to manslaughter on December 4, 2020, and was today jailed for four-and-a-half years.
He was also sentenced to three months imprisonment for affray, after pleading guilty to the offense following an incident on the 23 September 2018 where he refused to let two men into Victoria’s Lap Dancing Bar. One of the men claimed Kafi had punched him and broken his jaw, although no medical evidence could be produced. Kafi was on bail for this offense at the time of punching Emmanuel.
Sentencing Kafi, Judge Dean said: “You’re in your mid-30s and until September 2018 you had not been in any sort of trouble at all. What you did on January 26 was to get involved in violence, swinging a punch causing Mr Simon to fall and strike his head and die. This is a classic case of one punch manslaughter, your actions either followed or triggered some sort of violence that became the context of violent disorder.
“It is unusual to find someone who hands themselves into the police then indicates and recognizes that they’re where they deserve to be, incarcerated. I think you understand the hurt that you have caused to Mr Simon’s family, they will never forget how their loved one met his very sad end of him.
Two other men have also been convicted of violent disorder in relation to the incident and a further three men are due on trial in September 2022 charged with the same offence. Vojtech Suchy, 31, previously admitted his guilt and was sentenced to 10 months in custody, and Majid Kareem, 38, has served a 15-month sentence for violent disorder and also perverting the course of justice.
Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Carl Jones, from GMP’s Major Incident Team, said: “The death of Emmanuel is a tragedy that his family and friends still have to bear on a daily basis two years on since that dreadful night, and our Thoughts remain with them as this part of the investigation draws to a close. Emmanuel had come to Manchester for a better life and to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor; all this was so cruelly taken away from him by a moment of sheer brutal recklessness. by Nojan Kafi.
“Sadly, we see far too often the devastating impact of one punch, one moment of lethal violence that can have such tremendously damaging – and ultimately fatal – consequences and it is important for all concerned that today Kafi finally faces justice. We have been committed from day one in ensuring that Emmanuel’s loved ones are provided with the answers they deserve and I would like to thank all those involved with this investigation, including members of the public, for their help to secure this outcome.”
Paying tribute to Emmanuel at the time of his death in February 2020, his family said: “Emanuel came over to the UK in 2008 from Eritrea, east Africa. He had big dreams and aspirations to be a doctor and studied medicine at Manchester University. He worked hard while balancing both his job and his studies and after taking a gap year he had been accepted to join a university in Leeds to continue his studies in medicine.
“Known to his family and friends as Paulos, Emanuel was a gentle giant, easy going, quick to smile and loved life – he was dearly loved. Being one of nine siblings, Emanuel was from a large family and his loss from him will have a huge impact on every one of his friends and family from him. Emanuel was taken far too soon and in such tragic circumstances. He will be missed more than he words can say.
Read more of today’s top stories here