Bradford

Huddersfield shopkeeper Gurmail Singh murder petition

The son of a shopkeeper murdered during a robbery wants greater protection for independent store owners.

Gurmail Singh was killed when robbers hit him with bottles of wine at his shop, Cowcliffe Convenience Stores in Cowcliffe, Huddersfield, a year ago.

More than 4,000 people have signed a petition which Mr Singh's son Jasmohan Hayre plans to send to Downing Street.

Two men were jailed for life for murder. Mr Hayre is also campaigning for tougher sentences for offenders.

Two others were handed lesser sentences for robbery in November. A fifth man convicted of assisting an offender has already been released.

'Can't afford security'

Mr Hayre said: "The majority of those individuals had already committed crimes against other shopkeepers at magistrates level and they were given maybe suspended sentences or community rehabilitation sentences.

"It's just a joke and it shouldn't have got to this point.

"Those individuals chose to target an independent, they didn't go to Tesco Express or a Sainsbury's Local or anything like that, because we can't afford security guards in smaller independent shops.

Image caption Khalid, left, and Shafi will be sentenced next month

"There's hundreds of them up and down the country so it's a chance for the government to show they can do something right in this case and provide greater sentences and be fairer to the victims of crime."

Muawaz Khalid, 20, of Blackmoorfoot Road, and Nabeel Shafi, 18, of Park Hill, Bradley, were convicted of murder at Bradford Crown Court.

Khalid, who was also convicted of robbery, was told he must spend at least 21 years in prison while Shafi was given a 20-year minimum term.

During the trial, the prosecution said Mr Singh, 63, was attacked after he refused to hand over money during the robbery.

'Violent and sickening'

He died in hospital the following day.

The sentencing judge, Mr Justice Henriques described the crime as a "violent and sickening attack... on a lone shopkeeper late at night".

Rehman Afzal, 18, of Jacinth Court, Fartown, was jailed for five years and four months for robbery, while Umare Aslam, 20, of Coniston Avenue, Dalton, was given a six-and-a-half year sentence for the same offence.

Shoaib Khan, 18, of Calton Street, Hillhouse, was sentenced to eight months for assisting an offender.

He was released because of time already served on remand.

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