Beshenivsky jury discharged after robbery verdict failure

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The jury in the case of five men charged with murdering Pc Sharon Beshenivsky was discharged today after failing to reach a verdict on one count of robbery.

Three men were convicted of killing the woman police officer yesterday in the 11th week of the trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

But the jury failed to reach a verdict in relation to the robbery charge faced by 25-year-old Raza Ul-Haq Aslam after almost 23 hours and was discharged.

The 38-year-old mother was shot and killed on November 18 last year as she arrived at the scene of a robbery in Bradford city centre on the day of her youngest daughter's fourth birthday.

Her colleague Pc Teresa Milburn was also gunned down in the street as the robbers escaped with little more than £5,000.

Robert Smith QC, prosecuting, told the court Aslam would now be retried on the robbery charge.

The judge, Mr Justice Andrew Smith, thanked all the officers who worked on the inquiry, including Pc Milburn and the late Pc Beshenivsky.

Neither Pc Milburn, 37, nor husband Paul Beshenivsky, 44, were in court today.

Yesterday, Yusuf Abdillh Jamma was unanimously found guilty of Pc Beshenivsky's murder, while Faisal Razzaq and his brother Hassan were convicted of her manslaughter by a majority of 10-1 in the 11th week of the trial.

The brothers were cleared of her murder after more than 20 hours of jury deliberations.

Earlier, a fifth man, 25-year-old Muzzaker Imtiaz Shah, of London, admitted murder, robbery and firearms charges.

Shah entered the Universal Express travel agents on Morley Street armed with a MAC-10 sub-machine gun and 9mm pistol with Jamma.

Jamma, 20, of Whitmore Road, Small Heath, Birmingham, was also found guilty of firearms offences and had earlier pleaded guilty to robbery and further firearms charges.

Faisal Razzaq, 25, and his 26-year-old brother Hassan, both of Sebert Road, Forest Gate, east London, were nearby at the time of the shootings and were both found guilty of robbery and two firearms offences but cleared of two further firearms charges.

Pc Milburn and Pc Beshenivsky's widow Paul, 44, held hands with a close friend but showed no emotion as the verdicts were read out in court.

During the trial, Jamma, who told the jury he fired the fatal shot but did not intend to kill the officer, repeatedly denied the prosecution's suggestions that his version of events was a lie "to try to help Muzzaker Shah get off the attempted murder of Pc Milburn".

Part-way through the trial, the judge Mr Justice Smith ordered the jury to clear Shah of Pc Milburn's attempted murder. No one else was charged with shooting the 37-year-old mother of one.

Two other men, including Jamma's brother Mustaf who also entered the travel agents, and a man called Piran Ditta Khan, whom the prosecution alleged was the "architect of the robbery", remain on the run from police.

Aslam, 25, of St Pancras Way, Kentish Town, north London, told the court he had no part in the robbery or murder and was simply "in the wrong place at the wrong time".

He said he believed he was entitled to a £100,000 reward for helping police catch Pc Beshenivsky's killers as he rang Crimestoppers and passed on information after the officers were shot.

The judge thanked the jury of six women and five men for their efforts over the past 11 weeks and said they could hardly have been asked for their services on a "more arduous and demanding trial".

All 11 were excused from any further jury service.

The four defendants, apart from Aslam, will be sentenced on Friday.

West Yorkshire Chief Crown Prosecutor Neil Franklin said: "While only one person pulled the trigger, all the men convicted today were responsible for Pc Beshenivsky's death.

"The prosecution case demonstrated that their only concern was getting the money which they believed was held at Universal Express, and that they were prepared to use violence to obtain it.

"One of the weapons was fired during their escape, showing a willingness to use violence and their utter contempt for human life and a clear understanding that someone could be seriously injured or killed."

He added: "At this time our thoughts are with Pc Beshenivsky's family, friends and colleagues, and Pc Milburn, who has bravely returned to active duty on the streets of West Yorkshire. We hope they can take some small comfort from today's verdicts."

Outside court, Detective Superintendent Andy Brennan said Shah and Jamma were "absolutely ruthless" and had no respect for life.

The officer in charge of the murder investigation said he did not agree with the judge's decision to clear Shah of the attempted murder of Pc Milburn.

But he added he did respect the decision.

He told reporters: "We are absolutely convinced that Shah pulled the trigger."

He said it was too early to say whether any further prosecutions would follow.

He said Shah was "an incredibly dangerous individual". He said prison was "the only place he should be".

"Hopefully, he will be there for a very long time," he added.

The detective said Shah was very good friends with Jamma and said they were both as dangerous as one another.

The detective said: "Society is a safer place with both of them being in the position they are currently in."

He said the pair did not operate within the rules of normal society and carrying guns was "the norm" to them.