Two men have been jailed for attacking a man falsely accused of murdering Lorraine Cox.
Louis Mearns and Brandon Burrows targeted Naveed Rahimi because he worked at the kebab shop beneath the room where Ms Cox was killed.
Ms Cox, 32, was walking home in Exeter when she was killed by Azam Mangori, 24, in his flat above a kebab shop in September 2020.
He is serving life in prison, with a minimum term of 20 years.
Mangori was a tenant of the flat above the kebab shop and had no link to the business or its staff.
He was found guilty of the murder of Ms Cox in a trial at Exeter in April 2021.
Five men associated with the kebab shop were arrested when the body was found but later released without charge after police realised that Mangori was the killer.
Mearns and Burrows thought staff from the Bodrum Kebab shop were involved in the killing and tracked down chef Mr Rahimi to his home in Exeter.
They ambushed him on his doorstep on 2 October 2020 and accused him of “cutting up that girl” and called him a “Turkish terrorist” as they battered him about the head and body.
They both gave false alibis when arrested by police but were trapped by the locations of their phones, DNA from a drinks can they threw at Mr Rahimi, and testimony from a passer-by.
The two men were friends of Ms Cox and were inflamed by untrue rumours about the killing, Exeter Crown Court heard.
‘Vigilantist and racist views’
Mearns, aged 25, of Clyst St Mary, denied racially aggravated battery but was found guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court in March. Burrows, aged 26, of Farm Hill, Exeter admitted the same offence.
Mearns was jailed 44 weeks and Burrows for 50 weeks by Judge Timothy Rose.
Mr Rose said: “There was no solid reason for you to believe Mr Rahimi was involved in the killing of Lorraine Cox beyond your vigilantist and racist views about the murder.
“You decided in complete ignorance he must have been involved and either found out where he lived or followed him home. It is nonsense to suggest you went there by coincidence.
“You attacked him in a vigilante-style revenge attack, fuelled by racism. You both angrily and obscenely accused him of being involved with the murder.
Mr Rahimi heard both men calling him a Turkish terrorist, although he is British and of Afghan origin.
Burrows hit Mr Rahimi with a knuckleduster and the two men told neighbours: “You are living next to a terrorist.”
Mearns told the victim he would come back for him and stab him.
Mr Rahimi was so frightened he fled his home and moved hundreds of miles away.