University of Sunderland pays tribute to Hartlepool journalist shot dead during robbery
Tributes have continued to be paid to a journalist who died after he was shot by robbers while working in Africa.
Syed Taalay Ahmed, 31, who was born and grew up in Hartlepool before attending the University of Sunderland, died in hospital from his injuries after the Toyota vehicle he was travelling in was ambushed on the Tamale-Buipe highway in northern Ghana last week.
Armed raiders are said to have emerged from the bush on August 23 and opened fire before taking cash and mobile phones.
Two suspects have since been killed by police during an exchange of gunfire with four more people now in custody.
Married with two children, Mr Ahmed was a well-known and loved member of Hartlepool’s Ahmadiyya Muslim community and played cricket for Hartlepool, Wolviston and Hartlepool Power Station clubs.
After studying an MA in magazine journalism at the University of Sunderland between 2012-2013, he moved to London to begin his career and was researching a documentary at the time of his death for television station MTA International.
Dr Alex Lockwood, who was Syed's programme leader at the University, said: "We are deeply upset after hearing about the sudden death of Syed.
"Syed was not only a talented journalist who was passionate about the job he loved, he was also a devoted family man and a good friend.
"When he came to study at the university, Syed's desire to become a journalist was evident from day one.
"Although he had no undergraduate experience in journalism, we wanted to give him the opportunity to fulfil that dream.
"It was a pleasure watching Syed build a successful career in the job he loved and we stayed in touch with each other over the years.
"We would like to pass on our deepest condolences to his family and friends. Our thoughts are with them."
Hartlepool Cricket Club director of coaching Chris Smith earlier said Mr Ahmed would be “truly missed”, adding: “He had an infectious smile and was always happy to chat with anyone about pretty much anything, all the while keeping an eye on the cricket.”
Mr Ahmed went to Hartlepool’s West Park Primary School and later attended both the town’s High Tunstall College of Science and English Martyrs Sixth Form College.
He is survived by his wife, children, parents and siblings.