Three more held over attack on shopkeeper

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The Independent Online

Police investigating the murder of a shopkeeper who was bludgeoned to death in his store yesterday charged a 17-year-old youth with robbery and announced they have made three further arrests.



West Yorkshire Police said the 17-year-old, who was arrested earlier this week, has been charged with a robbery at Gurmail Singh's store in the Cowcliffe area of Huddersfield on Thursday February 18 - two days before he was killed.



He will appear before magistrates in the town tomorrow.



A force spokesman said a 20-year-old and two more 17-year-olds have been arrested this weekend and are in custody.



An 18-year-old and a 17-year-old also arrested earlier this week have been released without charge.



Mr Singh, 63, suffered serious head injuries at his shop on the evening of Saturday February 20 - probably inflicted by a hammer - and died in hospital early the following morning.



Police said he was struck at least nine times in the attack.



Detectives have been looking for four men in their early 20s or late teens.



Two were seen leaving the shop just before the alarm was raised and two more were trapped for some time in the store by witnesses from a nearby pub who became suspicious that a robbery was in progress.



These two suspects were brought to the floor by witnesses as they fled but both managed to escape.



Officers said two more arrests were made yesterday and one on Saturday.



The spokesman said the 17-year-old male arrested yesterday on suspicion of murder and robbery was detained at an address in the Sheepridge area of Huddersfield.



This morning, a 20-year-old man from the Crosland Moor area and a 17-year-old male from the Fartown area were arrested on suspicion of murder.



He said: "All three are currently in custody and will be interviewed by officers from West Yorkshire Police's Homicide and Major Enquiry Team. The two males arrested this morning will also undergo forensic examination.



"A 17-year-old male from the Huddersfield area arrested earlier this week has now been charged with robbery in relation to the incident at Mr Singh's shop - Cowcliffe Convenience Store - on Thursday, 18 February. He will appear before Huddersfield Magistrates' Court tomorrow morning.



"Two other males aged 18 and 17 arrested have been released without charge."



Detective Superintendent David Pervin, who is leading the murder inquiry, said the public had reacted very positively to police appeals for help.



He said: "There has been a tremendous response to our appeals for information in connection with the murder of Mr Singh but once again it is imperative that the public continue to contact the police with any information they have that could assist the investigation."



Mr Singh was an extremely well-respected shopkeeper who many have described as a pillar of the community.



His shop is tucked away in a quiet area of Huddersfield which local people say is not affected by high levels of crime.



Dozens of bunches of flowers have been laid outside Mr Singh's home, which is just a short distance from his store.



Customers, friends and community leaders have spoken of Mr Singh's hard work and his kindness towards people living in the area.



He opened his store from 6am to 9pm, seven days a week - often delivering papers before the doors opened.



Police said Mr Singh came to the UK in 1963 and he leaves a wife, two adult sons and a daughter. He celebrated his 63rd birthday the day before he died.