The ‘Good Samaritan’ who died after a car ploughed into a group of people in Sheffield has been named as a father-of-two who ‘stepped in to help a stranger in their time of need’.
Christian Marriott, who was on a post-Christmas walk with his family and children, was providing first aid to an injured woman when he was killed after a wedding party turned into a ‘bloodbath’ between warring families.
Mr Marriott left his two sons, aged eight and six, to help the lady, who was lying unconscious in the street just after 2pm. Police believe she had been involved in the altercation.
He was then hit by the car – which also ploughed into the woman he was trying to save and a number of others.
The violence, which allegedly included a stabbing, is said to have broken out after two families started arguing at the groom’s semi-detached home following the ceremony at a local mosque.
Christian Marriott left his young children and was providing first aid to an injured woman when he was killed when in a car ram attack after a wedding party turned into a ‘bloodbath’ between warring families
A muzzed image of the crash aftermath on a street in Pitsmoor in Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Six other people suffered injuries during the incident including an off-duty midwife, who had also stopped to help.
Police said that of the other casualties, the off-duty midwife suffered minor injuries, a man suffered serious injuries which are not believed to be life-threatening and four further people – three women and a man – all suffered minor injuries.
A man aged 23, arrested on suspicion of murder, and a second man, 55, arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, last night remained in custody.
Senior Investigating Officer, DCI Andrew Knowles, paid tribute to the victim of a ‘horrific tragedy’, as he issued a plea for information regarding the incident.
He said: ‘This is an utterly heartbreaking case in which a Good Samaritan, who had stepped in to help a stranger in their time of need, has lost his life.
‘Chris leaves behind a loving family including his devastated wife and two young sons. We are absolutely determined to secure justice for Chris and his loved ones following this horrific tragedy.
‘Increased patrols will continue in the area in the coming days and local people will continue to see officers carrying out enquiries, including going house-to-house to gather witness statements.
‘There are people in that community who hold information which is vital to our investigation and have not yet given statements.
‘I want to be able to get to the bottom of what happened for Chris and his family. I need those people with information to do the right thing. If you don’t want to talk to us directly, you can use Crimestoppers and remain 100 per cent anonymous.’
Describing himself as ‘a general all-rounder who loves leading and coaching’, Mr Marriott had devoted his time to a series of charities and voluntary causes before his death.
Mr Marriott left his two sons, aged eight and six, to help the lady, who was lying unconscious in the street just after 2pm. Police believe she had been involved in the altercation. Pictured: Mr Marriott, right
A vehicle was seen being towed away from the scene after reports of a disturbance
Mr Marriott left his two sons, aged eight and six, to help the lady, who was lying unconscious in the street just after 2pm. Police believe she had been involved in the altercation. Pictured: Forensic officers near to the scene
An experienced finance, operations and project manager he turned his talents to specialised roles to help the community.
He had held long-term roles as part of a monetary advice charity, at Sheffield’s Museums and within the local church.
Within the Voluntary Action Sheffield charity, he lead their Healthy Holidays programme, bringing a range of activities and food to children across the summer.
Speaking about his efforts – which included delivering around 3,500 healthy food hampers in just one week – he said: ‘It has stretched and challenged me beyond my comfort zone on so many occasions.
‘But seeing photos of kids getting outside, having fun and cooking at home has reminded, once again, that investing time and effort into the lives of children and young people is so worth it.’
Shocked Shazia Bi described the horror after her brother-in-law Riasat Khan – the groom’s father – was mowed down by the speeding car which killed Mr Marriott.
The mother-of-five said a row had erupted after Mr Khan’s son Hasan Khan, in his early 20’s, had married his 19-year-old girlfriend Amani at a mosque near their homes in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, yesterday.
The violence, which allegedly included a stabbing, is said to have broken out yesterday afternoon following a row between the families of a woman and her partner.
Mrs Bi, who lives next door but one to the Khans in a quiet street in the city’s Burngreave suburb, said: ‘It was a happy occasion but it turned into a bloodbath. It was shocking.
Two men arrested in connection with the incident – one on suspicion of murder – remain in custody, the force said. Pictured: Forensic officers near to the scene
The scene in College Close, Burngreave, Sheffield as the police cordon remains in place
‘An innocent man who wasn’t a member of either family but had been trying to help and calm the situation sadly lost his life.
‘My brother-in-law was hit by the car and was taken to hospital with head injuries but thankfully is OK, just a bit hurt and very shocked.’
Mrs Bi, speaking as police launched a murder investigation, said the two families had started arguing after the ceremony at the groom’s semi-detached home.
She told MailOnline: ‘The bride, the girl, was happy and everything was peaceful but there was a problem with her family who live a few miles away.
‘I think they had been invited to the wedding but chose not to attend but later went to the boy’s home to confront his family.
‘It was her family making all the drama. They didn’t want the girl to marry the boy.
‘They were not happy that the wedding had gone so ahead and a big argument started outside the house. There were lots of people in the street.’
Mrs Bi, who had not attended the wedding because she was busy looking after her young baby and other children, added: ‘One of the girl’s relatives had driven into the crowds. I didn’t see it and do not know if it was deliberate or accidental.
‘My brother-in-law got hit but not seriously. His head was bleeding and he went to hospital but is now out.
‘He and the husband’s family are not allowed home for a few days because police have it sealed off as a crime scene.
‘We don’t know the name of the man who died – he is not one of our family but I think he lives in the street or was visiting someone there.’
The groom is one of five siblings, aged 22 to seven.
Mrs Bi said her 42-year-old brother-in-law was ‘heartbroken’ by what unfolded on a ‘day of celebration’.
Forensic officers on Scott Road near to the scene on College Close in the Burngreave area of Sheffield
Police officers stand at a cordon set up in the area after South Yorkshire Police launched a murder investigation
Other locals told how the horror unfolded in a normally quiet street after the bride’s family confronted the groom’s family, telling them: ‘We didn’t want this marriage, you son is not good enough for our daughter!’
The resident, who refused to be identified, said: ‘It was mayhem with people going absolutely crazy.
‘There was shouting and fighting in the street then a car speed along at 50mph and ploughed into the crowd.
‘A man who had been trying to keep peace between the families died at the scene. It was terrifying.’
It is believed several other people injured were members of the two British-Pakistani families – one living in College Close in the Burngreave suburb of the city where tragedy struck and the other visiting from nearby.
The man said: ‘We heard that someone was stabbed as well as a man being killed.’
A shop keeper added: ‘It was a dispute two between families. It’s a fallout between their family and the family of the youngest sister’s partner.
‘It’s a family issue which led to the disturbance. What followed is really shocking.’
According to locals in the area, the row broke out after the couple got married in a local Mosque yesterday.
Locals told how the horror unfolded in a normally quiet street after the bride’s family confronted the groom’s family
The family of the 19-year-old bride were invited to the ceremony but allegedly declined. They later went to confront the groom’s family at their home, which they have been temporarily moved out of by police.
The father-of-the-groom is said to have been one of the men hit by the car but has since been released from hospital.
Tarek Nayli, 49, a businessman living in a house overlooking where the fatal confrontation happened, described looking out to see ‘one, possibly two’ people under the car, and an injured man and woman in the street.
He said he saw another man ‘with blood on his face’. Describing looking out from a window, Mr Nayli said: ‘We heard a lot of noise then all these people came out from the house who were fighting.
‘The people fighting were all men. When I went outside, everything seemed to have happened with the car. There was a guy and a woman who seemed to be injured and there were people under the car. I don’t know if one or two.
‘Another man had blood coming from his face. It was 2-3 minutes before the police came.’
Other residents told how the fighting followed a ‘wedding party’ at the house on the corner of College Street and College Close.
This afternoon, the scene had been cleared but police forensic officers were searching the house where the wedding party is said to have been held.
At the site where the car appears to have been driven onto the pavement, there was still broken glass and a mangled street sign.
Two other people, described by witnesses as a man and a woman, were said to have also been struck by the blue Seat car, understood to have been driven by a member of one of the families.
One of the injured pair is critically injured. A fourth casualty, said to be a man, was bleeding from the head after being stabbed, it was claimed.
Police have now opened a murder investigation over the incident in Pitsmoor area of the South Yorkshire city that took place just after 2pm on December 27
A man, 23, was arrested on suspicion of murder and another man, 55, on suspicion of attempted murder.
One local, who did not wish to be named, claimed: ‘There had been an engagement party at a house and an argument broke out over something.
‘I believe somebody was not happy this particular couple are together and its just escalated from there.
‘A woman has got hurt and a family member has called another relative who has arrived at the scene in their car and driven down it at about 60mph.
‘We were told the bloke who died may not have been involved in the argument at all and was just in the wrong place. It’s very tragic.’
Another resident added: ‘All I know there was a bit of a party going on and there was a row. Somebody has belted down the road and just not stopped.
‘There were police everywhere. You don’t expect it on a quiet residential street.’
Both families believed to be involved are from the area’s large British-Pakistani community, locals said.
Horrific video footage shows at least one body in the street in the aftermath of the incident in Pitsmoor, Sheffield, on Wednesday afternoon.
A member of ambulance crew can be heard saying attempts were being made to resuscitate one casualty.
He also spoke of three other casualties including ‘one gentleman with a stab wound’.
The crew member can be heard saying: ‘We’re just trying to get some kind of order in place.’
One man, 46, was pronounced dead at the scene while another person was rushed to hospital where they remain in a serious condition.
A 23-year-old man arrested on suspicion of murder continues to be held by detectives investigating the incident in College Close in the Burngreave area of Sheffield on Wednesday afternoon, South Yorkshire Police said.