London Jewish couple honored for rescuing killer they helped to convict


(JTA) — London police honored a Jewish Orthodox couple for helping to solve a murder case and for rescuing a wounded man from Turkish mafia thugs who tried to kill him.

Haim and Rachel Bublil, 33 and 32, received a certificate of appreciation this month from the High Sheriff of Greater London for rescuing and then secretly recording Samuel Zerai, 22, reveal the identity of his shooter, Jamie Marsh-Smith. The recording also has Zerai incriminating March-Smith in a murder that occurred just before Marsh-Smith shot Zerai, the newspaper Alondon reported this week.

Haim Bublil, who was born in Israel, and his French-born wife met Zerai last year when he showed up at their home in Tottenham and begged them to let him in so he could escape the mafia thugs who had shot him, the Alondon monthly reported.

Zerai told the couple that hours before he was injured, he helped March-Smith kill Zafer Eren of the Tottenham Turks gang. Zerai was March-Smith’s getaway driver, but March-Smith shot Zerai because he was a potential witness to the Eren murder. Zerai was severely wounded but managed to escape into the Bublils’ residence, where they live with their six children.

Zerai believed he was going to die, Haim Bublil told Alondon, so he told the couple the whole story, which Haim Bublil recorded. Zerai asked the Bublils not to call the police. Haim Bublil spoke in Hebrew to the Shomrim volunteer guards of the Jewish community and asked them to call the police anyway.

Zerai and March-Smith are among several criminals convicted thanks to the Bublils’ actions.

At one point, Haim Bublil fought off thugs who chased Zerai to Bublil’s home with a large barbecue fork, he said. Then the couple began applying pressure to Zerai’s wounds to stop his bleeding.

But Haim Bublil said the couple was offended when police treated them as suspects in the beginning of the investigation.

In that situation, “Jews will help anyone, regardless of faith or origin,” he said.

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