Court shown footage of PC's final moments

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The Independent Online

A police officer watched an armed robber point a gun at her and fire, seconds after he had killed her colleague during a raid on a travel agents, a murder trial was told yesterday.

PC Theresa Milburn survived the attempt to kill her but her colleague PC Sharon Beshenivsky died instantly in what was a "callous and unnecessary" shooting, committed because the two probationers stood between the robbers and a possible £100,000 haul from the Universal Express travel agency in Bradford, the jury was told.

Opening the case for the prosecution at Newcastle Crown Court, Robert Smith QC said two of the three robbers, all "dangerous men, plainly prepared to stop at nothing to evade arrest", had dressed in smart suits and ties to pose as customers. They were armed with a 9mm self-loading pistol, a 9mm automatic sub-machine gun, known as a Mac-10, and a knife. They were leaving the premises when PC Beshenivsky and PC Milburn, who had nine and 18 months' experience respectively, arrived in response to a silent alarm call.

The officers, reaching the end of day's work that had begun at 7am, were patrolling Bradford in a marked police car when, at 3.20pm, they were notified of the raid. Two street wardens voiced concerns about the travel agency, where staff had been bound with cable ties, but as the police officers approached the premises the robbers emerged and opened fire. CCTV images, played repeatedly to the jury, showed the officers being hit and falling to the ground.

Mr Smith told the jury that PC Milburn heard the gun fire as her colleague was shot. "She had a very clear view of the Asian man and saw his hand stretched out in front of him and pointing towards PC Beshenivsky," he said. "She saw him move the handgun towards her and then the Asian male shot her. She heard the bang and felt immense pain and knew immediately she had been shot."

Mr Smith said the bullet struck the left side and upper front of her chest but did not damage her major organs. Her colleague, a former police community support officer, had "no chance." Both officers were wearing body armour but, because of its positioning, the bullets managed to penetrate their bodies.

After PC Milburn was shot, the three men ran off and escaped in a silver Rav4 4x4 car. The prosecution contends that Muzzaker Imtiaz Shah, 25, of no fixed address, fired the shots and was the "chief intimidator and chief organiser". He admitted murder earlier this week.

Yusuf Jamma, 20, of Small Heath, Birmingham, who allegedly entered the travel agents with his brother Mustaf and Muzzaker Shah, denies murder, as do three other alleged accomplices Raza ul-Haq Aslam, 25, of Kentish Town, north London, Faisal Razzaq, 25, and his 26-year-old brother, Hassan, both of Forest Gate, east London. Shah denies the attempted murder of PC Milburn. Police are still seeking the other alleged members of the gang, Mustaf Jamma and a man known his accomplices as "Uncle", who is believed to have been the mastermind of the robbery.

Francois Baron, who was working at a house in Leeds used by the group, allegedly heard them being told that the proceeds of the raid would be a minimum of £50,000, but a maximum of £100,000. The group was "elated" at this response, which prompted shouts of "Let's go and do it'." Mr Baron then saw the Jamma brothers put on suits and ties as they prepared for the robbery, the court heard.

Fingerprints and DNA evidence closely linked the defendants with the three cars involved in the raid, the jury heard. The trial continues.