Senior detective warns of dangers of 'cuckooing' following Nelson man Naeem Mustafa's life imprisonment for murder of Michael Brierley

A detective involved in the investigation into the murder of Nelson man Michael Brierley has spoken of the dangers of ‘cuckooing’.

By Dominic Collis
Friday, 17th June 2022, 10:35 am

Det. Chief Insp Alan Davis was speaking outside Preston Crown Court alongside members of Michael’s family following the sentencing of life imprisonment of his killer Naeem Mustafa.

The senior detective warned about the dangers of cuckooing where an individual targets vulnerable people, taking over their lives and finances, and will often physically abuse people.

Michael (48) and his partner had both been subject to numerous physical assaults, had their finances taken over, and their house was no longer their own.

Det. Chief Insp Alan Davis with members of Nelson murder Michael Brierley's family outside Preston Crown Court

The detective also encouraged people to spot signs of cuckooing and approach police.

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Naeem Mustafa jailed for life for murder of Nelson man Michael Brierley

In an earlier statement, he said: “This was a barbaric, callous and sustained attack carried out on a kind and extremely vulnerable man. I truly believe that Mustafa identified Michael Brierley and his partner as vulnerable and set about a campaign of physical, emotional, verbal and financial abuse, knowing they would not and could not fight back.

“What has sadly become clear during this investigation is that Michael and his partner were victims of cuckooing at the hands of Mustafa. He exploited their vulnerabilities for his own financial benefit, controlling their lives, subjecting them to regular violence and verbal abuse and having Michael’s benefits paid into his own bank account.

Naeem Mustafa

“I want to reach out directly to anybody who may be the victim of cuckooing or any type of physical, emotional or financial abuse to contact the police. Similarly, I would like to appeal to the public to look out for their neighbours, friends and relatives, and report anything suspicious. Whether that be shouting, a change in somebody’s demeanour, evidence of somebody exerting control over somebody else or unexplained injuries.”

Mustafa was jailed for life for murder and must serve a minimum of 27 years. He was given 42 months imprisonment for inflicting grievous bodily harm which he will serve concurrently with the life sentence.

A jury at Preston Crown Court had earlier unanimously found Mustafa, of St Paul’s Road, Nelson, guilty of murder and Section 18 assault.

A 31-year-old woman from Nelson was found not guilty of assisting an offender.