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"He left smiling and full of hope for the future" heartbroken family of Azim Azam pay tribute
Cold blooded killer Azeem Akhtar stabbed16-year-old college student Azim to death as he stepped off a Birmingham bus after warning: “I’m going to deal with you.”
The  heartbroken family of a teenager stabbed to death before his first day at college paid tribute to their ‘innocent boy’ last night – as his killer faced life in prison.

Azim Azam, 16, had stepped off No 2 bus in Moseley, Birmingham, when he was knifed in the chest by 18-year-old Azeem Akhtar, after he had first calmly pulled on a pair of gloves.

Popular Azim was en-route to his first day at Bournville College when he was stabbed by the killer, who later claimed he had been “snaked” by his victim - a slang term for insulted.

Akhtar, from Glen Rise in Kings Heath, had been due to stand trial next month but yesterday he admitted the murder when he appeared at Birmingham Crown Court. He will be sentenced on March 17.

Judge William Davis QC warned him: “The sentence I have to impose on you is one of detention for life. That is the sentence I will impose. But I also have to determine the minimum period you must serve before you are eligible for any kind of release.”

After the case, the victim’s family issued a powerful statement describing how the teenager had left for college on the morning of September 16, “smiling and full of hope”.

The statement added: “We still feel lost and are all heartbroken over the loss of Azim. A mother should never have to bury her son.

“Nothing will ever bring our boy back but some peace may be found knowing the person who killed him isn’t free to walk the streets carrying a knife, putting further lives at risk. To us this behaviour is so unacceptable.

“An innocent boy’s life was lost whilst on his way to his first day at college. He left that morning smiling and full of hope for his future. We will never forget the way Azim lost his life. We will always miss him and love him.”

Azim, from Billesley, was due to start his first full day at Bournville College where he was embarking on a PE course.

He boarded the No 2 bus in Yardley Wood Road, near Swanhurst Lane, Moseley, at around 8.25am but within seconds Akhtar - who was sat at the rear - began hurling abuse.

It is understood the pair had fallen out months earlier and Akhtar later told friends he lunged at Azim with the kitchen knife in revenge for being insulted.

The killer was ominously spotted on CCTV discretely pulling on a pair of black gloves before the stabbing. Fellow passengers told how the Akhtar - a frequent bus passenger - shouted “what you doing on my bus… I’m going to deal with you” and “let’s go to town” which is understood to mean, ‘let’s have a fight’.

Azim shrugged off the taunts and minutes later got off at his usual stop at the junction with Wake Green Road.

In court witnesses described how Akhtar shoved his way past people standing in the aisle to reach the 16-year-old and, as he stepped off, he stabbed him once in the chest.

Azim initially ran off but after a short distance slumped to the ground. A doctor tried reviving him as he lay on the pavement but despite the best efforts of paramedics he later died in hospital.

After the murder Akhtar - known amongst associates as ‘Ace’ - phoned a friend on the bus saying; “I think I got him but there’s no blood on my weapon” before attending a youth course later that morning.

Witnesses say the knife thug, who was 17 at the time of the fatal stabbing, was acting normally and didn’t appear nervous or anxious.

Police made numerous arrest attempts at addresses known to Akhtar during the manhunt but, as the net closed, he handed himself in to Birmingham Central Police station.
Detective Superintendent Mark Payne, of West Midlands Police, said: “This is a terribly tragic case. It is a shocking waste of two young lives.

“Azim had just enrolled on a sports course and was hoping it would pave the way for a PE teaching career. He chose to attend a college away from his home in Billesley, free from distractions and what he saw as negative influences - but whilst travelling to college he was fatally attacked.

“These two teenagers clearly didn’t get on - though quite what caused the spat is unclear - and it came to a head when they saw each other on the bus that fateful morning.

“Had Akhtar not been carrying a knife they may well have had a bit of a dust up and most likely walked away with a few cuts and bruises; who knows, it may well have settled their differences.

“But carrying a knife, or indeed anything that could be used as a weapon, is a game changer. If you set foot in public with a knife you not only endanger other people’s lives but also your own. If someone with a knife gets caught up in a row or scuffle there’s every chance that knife could be used to injure or kill - and may well be used against the carrier.

“Anyone using a knife in anger can expect to waste much of their life behind bars.”

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