Three guilty of killing Pc Beshenivsky

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The Independent Online

Three men were today convicted of killing Pc Sharon Beshenivsky who was shot dead at point blank range following a bungled armed robbery at a travel agent's.

Yusuf Abdillh Jamma was unanimously found guilty of the 38-year-old mother's murder, while Faisal Razzaq and his brother Hassan were convicted of her manslaughter by a majority of 10-1 following an 11-week trial at Newcastle Crown Court.

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

Pc Beshenivsky was shot and killed on November 18 last year as she arrived at the scene 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.

Raza Ul-Haq Aslam, 25, was also cleared of Pc Beshenivsky's murder, manslaughter and firearms offences, but the jury is still considering a robbery charge against him.

Earlier in the trial, a fifth man, 25-year-old Muzzaker Imtiaz Shah, admitted her murder, along with robbery and firearms charges.

Faisal Razzaq, 25, and his 26-year-old brother Hassan were both cleared of possessing a MAC-10 sub-machine gun and a 9mm pistol with intent to endanger life, but found guilty of possessing the firearms.

Earlier today, Jamma was found guilty of possessing the firearms with intent to endanger life. He also admitted two counts of possessing the firearms and robbery earlier.

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

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

Shah, of London, was told he would play no further role in the trial and was not in court today.

Two other men, including Jamma's brother Mustaf and a man called Piran Ditta Khan, remain on the run from police.

Jamma, of Whitmore Road, Small Heath, Birmingham; Aslam, of St Pancras Way, Kentish Town, north London; Faisal Razzaq; and his brother Hassan, both of Sebert Road, Forest Gate, east London, showed no reaction as the verdicts were given.

During the trial, Jamma, who admitted robbery, pleaded guilty to two firearms offences which he had previously denied after Shah, who admitted murder but denied pulling the trigger of the gun, was cleared of Pc Milburn's attempted murder.

Jamma told the jury he fired the fatal shot from the 9mm pistol, but did not intend to kill the officer.

He 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".

Jamma said: "I just remember hearing me pulling the trigger, sort of thing."

He denied he intentionally discharged the gun, or that he knew it was real and loaded.

Aslam, who was today cleared of all charges except for robbery (which the jury are still considering), 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.

The 25-year-old rang Crimestoppers and passed on information after the officers were shot.

Aslam insisted the first he knew of the officer's murder was when the gang returned to their base in Harehills Lane, Leeds, where he worked as a handyman.

Faisal admitted he was round the corner from the travel agent's when the shootings took place.

He told the jury he was having a meal in the Royal Balti Chicken House, in nearby Chester Street, with co-accused Raza Ul-Haq Aslam at the time.

The court heard Faisal Razzaq drove a Toyota Corolla into Mannville Terrace, a dead end which backs onto Morley Street, around the time the robbers were fleeing across the street, but he denied he was acting as a look--out.

Hassan Razzaq, the only defendant who chose not to give evidence in the trial, had a "powerful case" against him, prosecutor Robert Smith QC said.

Razzaq carried out a reconnaissance trip from London on November 13 last year, five days before Pc Beshenivsky was shot dead after responding to a robbery alarm at Universal Express.

He drove Piran Ditta Khan - the man known as uncle Pete, "the architect of the robbery", who remains on the run - first to Bradford and then to the house in Leeds where his brother Faisal was staying.

Aslam faces the only remaining count in the trial, that of robbery, and the jury will continue its deliberations in the morning.