Bradford

Huddersfield men guilty of Gurmail Singh murder

Two men have been convicted of murdering a shopkeeper during a robbery at his village store in West Yorkshire.

Gurmail Singh was hit over the head with bottles of wine from the shelves of Cowcliffe Convenience Stores in Cowcliffe, Huddersfield, in February.

A jury convicted Huddersfield men Muawaz Khalid, 20, and Nabeel Shafi, 18, of murder at Bradford Crown Court.

Three other men, Umare Aslam, 20, Shoaib Khan, 18, and Rehman Afzal, 18, were cleared of murder.

Khalid, of Blackmoorfoot Road, and Aslam, of Coniston Avenue, Dalton, were also convicted of robbery.

Prince's letter

During the six-week trial the prosecution said Mr Singh, 63, was attacked on the night of 20 February after he refused to "meekly hand over his property, his hard-earned money" during the robbery.

He died in hospital the following day.

The court heard smokers outside the pub opposite the shop realised something was wrong when they saw two men running from the scene.

One man trapped the remaining two members of the gang inside by holding the door shut but they got out of a back door after attempts to smash their way through.

Those men were tackled by other members of the public but managed to free themselves and get away, prosecutors told the jury.

Image caption The court heard Mr Singh was attacked after he refused to hand over his "hard-earned money"

After the conviction, Mr Singh's son Jas said the family were "relieved that those who committed these terrible crimes have now been found guilty".

He said: "My mother has been completely devastated by the murder of her husband. Since he was killed her health has deteriorated vastly.

"We miss our father's patience, support, calmness, warmth, strength and love. He showed all these characteristics every day of his life."

Det Supt David Pervin, of West Yorkshire Police, said: "The people found guilty of Mr Singh's death will have a long time now to think about the fact that they killed a man for just a few pounds, some cigarettes and sweets."

The detective said letters and messages of support had been sent to Mr Singh's family from across the country, including the office of the Prince of Wales.

He added: "Local people showed great courage in attempting to tackle and capture those responsible at the time of the attack and, after the tragic events of that night, the wider community united and showed massive support in helping us to put these people before the courts.

"I cannot thank them enough for that."

Khan, of Calton Street, Hillhouse, was cleared of the robbery charge. The jury was told he had earlier admitted a charge of assisting an offender.

Sharfi, of Park Hill, Bradley, and Afzal, of Jacinth Court, Fartown, pleaded guilty to robbery at a hearing earlier this year.

Sentencing was adjourned until 16 November so pre-sentence reports could be prepared. All five men were remanded in custody.

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