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A ‘hitman’ accused of gunning down the brother of a Real Housewives of Cheshire star claims he was told to travel to London by his Swedish crime boss cousin and had no idea about a murder, a court has heard.
Flamur ‘Alex’ Beqiri, 36, whose sister Misse Beqiri appeared in Real Housewives Of Cheshire, was shot in front of his wife and two-year-old son on the doorstep of his £1.5m family home in Battersea, southwest London.
Southwark Crown Court heard the hit was organised by Swedish crime boss Ahmed Karaer, who has since since disappeared.
Alleged gunman Anis Fouad Hemissi, 24, alongside his Swedish compatriots Bawer Karaer, 23, Tobias Andersson, 32, Estevan Munizaga, 35, deny murdering the father-of-two on December 24, 2019.
Claude Isaac-Castor, 22, and Clifford Rollox, 31, deny perverting the course of justice between the 24 and 28 December 2019.
Flamur ‘Alex’ Beqiri, 36, a Swedish national of Albanian heritage and whose sister Misse Beqiri appeared in Real Housewives Of Cheshire, was murdered outside his £1.5m home in Battersea, southwest London, on Christmas Eve 2019 (both pictured)
Flamur ‘Alex’ Beqiri, 36, was killed in front of his wife Debora Krasniqi (they are pictured together)
Giving evidence today, Bawer Karaer said on December 23 2019 he had been unexpectedly told by his crime boss cousin Ahmed to travel to London on the same day.
He claimed his cousin wanted him to go to the UK to assist in a burglary involving expensive watches, an offer he immediately rejected.
‘I told him I wasn’t comfortable with that,’ said Bawer. ‘I am not involved in crimes like that. He knew that, but he said ‘think about it.’
Later that afternoon, Ahmed called him and told him ‘you are going’, informing his cousin he had already bought plane tickets for him that evening.
Bawer said he viewed his cousin Ahmed ‘as an older brother’ and looked up to him.
Mark Heywood, QC, prosecuting, said: ‘We have heard some evidence he was involved in serious crime.
‘Had he suggested to you before then you should get involved?’
Bawer replied: ‘Not in his actions. I didn’t know about his actions. I knew he was in prison, but I thought it was about fighting.’
Jurors heard the cousins would regularly meet and stay in touch, but Ahmed had never spoken about criminal activities prior to that day.
Mr Heywood said: ‘If what you say is true this, involving a murder, is the first time that this deceiving happened.’
‘Yes,’ replied Bawer.
While he felt under pressure from his cousin, Bawer said he had not been threatened to ensure his cooperation.
Mr Beqiri’s sister Misse Beqiri, who appeared in Real Housewives of Cheshire
The doorstep of Mr Beqiri’s home in Battersea, southwest London, where the shooting took place on Christmas Eve 2019
‘I was weak enough to agree,’ he said. ‘I didn’t know about a murder taking place.’
Mr Heywood told him: ‘My suggestion is that you are telling the jury a pack of lies; that this was discussed days before, and that you had known what was going to happen.’
‘I told you everything I know, I have been as honest as I can be.
‘I do not deserve this, my mum and dad do not deserve this, I am not my cousin,’ said Bawer.
While his cousin had told him he would help him out with the burglary in London, he had never specified what Bawer’s exact role would be.
Mr Heywood asked him: ‘It is your experience that when people make decisions, especially ones that are unusual decisions they ought to know what might happen?’
The defendant replied: ‘I would like to know what happened. I put my trust in my cousin. That was a mistake, that is the only reason I am here today.’
Asked about an Encrochat phone that was in his position, he denied knowledge of the device’s secure features.
The five Swedes and UK national Rollox appeared at the dock, while a Swedish interpreter assisted in the trial.
Hemissi, Pino-Munizaga, both of Malmo, Sweden, Karaer, of Stockholm, Sweden, and Andersson, of Trangsund, Sweden, all deny murder.
Hemissi also denies possession of a prohibited firearm in relation to a self-loading pistol.
Isaac-Castor, of no fixed address, and Rollox, of Percival Street, Islington, deny perverting the course of justice.
The trial continues.