Victim's widow speaks out as trio are jailed for businessman's murder

 

Three men who carried out the "pre-meditated brutal" murder of a businessman were jailed for life today.

Mohammed Nadeen Siddique, 38, known as Toby, was shot dead in a flat in Forres Drive, Glenrothes, Fife on October 24 2010

His brother "Mo", 42-year-old Mohammed Azam Siddique, who hired the hitman and the "driving force" behind the murder, was jailed for at least 25 years.

Tencho Andonov, 28, the Bulgarian gunman who pulled the trigger, was told he would spend a minimum of 29 years behind bars. Andonov had also been convicted of attempting to murder another man.

The third man, Bulgarian Deyan Nikolov, 27, described in court as the conduit between his two co-accused, was ordered to serve at least 18 years in prison.

The men were sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh where they were convicted last month after a long-running trial which began in October.

Judge Lord Kinclaven told them: "You have each been convicted by verdict of the jury of the most serious of crimes."

He added: "This was a pre-meditated brutal murder. This was a pre-planned killing with a firearm."

The brothers were partners in a family business but had fallen out.

The court heard today that Toby Siddique was "callously and repeatedly" shot in the head.

The three men, all first offenders, were convicted of murder by a jury last month.

Andonov was also found guilty of the attempted murder of David Dalgleish in the same incident. He too was shot in the head.

The trial which resulted in the convictions was one of the longest murder cases in recent Scottish legal history.

Prosecutors described the killing as a "despicable crime" which was "motivated by greed".

Passing sentence, Lord Kinclaven said: "You have each been convicted by verdict of the jury of the most serious of crimes, that is the crime of murder."

He told Siddique: "This was a premeditated brutal murder and the jury found that you were the driving force behind the killing. It was a pre-planned killing with a firearm. The victim was your brother, Toby Siddique, who was aged 38 when he was repeatedly shot in the head.

"This was a tragedy and continues to be a tragedy for all those who knew Toby Siddique, including the other members of your own family."

Addressing gunman Andonov, the judge said: "You callously and repeatedly shot Toby Siddique in the head in the manner described in evidence."

He said the evidence pointed to Andonov having carried out the killing for financial gain.

Lord Kinclaven told Nikolov the jury found he was the "link or conduit" between Siddique and Andonov.

The investigation into the attack was the largest and most complex in Fife Police's 62-year history.

At one stage, 80 officers were involved in the investigation, which is now said to have cost the force £1.5 million.

Toby Siddique's widow broke her silence this afternoon and revealed she would not be able to forgive Mo Siddique.

Saimah Siddique, 33, told reporters: "He didn't just break my home, he's actually broken four family homes.

"None of it's been easy. Because it's within the family, there's no escaping. This is always going to be around us forever.

"It's affected our children's lives."

Asked how she felt towards Mo, she added: "I can't pinpoint a word to be honest. In a way, I do feel sorry for him. I know that my husband trusted Mohammed the most. He probably trusted him more than he trusted me. He loved him the most as well."

Questioned on whether she could forgive him, she said simply: "No."

The widow also said it was hard for her to listen to the way her husband was portrayed in court.

She said: "I knew my husband for 14 years. Having to sit in the court and listen to the defence blacken his name: it wasn't easy.

"My husband had a heart of gold. They portrayed him to be someone he wasn't. He lived for his children and it's upsetting to know that my children are going to grow up without a father.

"It wasn't easy listening to the rumours."

The court heard today how all three men continue to maintain their innocence.

Mo Siddique was described by his defence team as a devoted father and a successful self-employed businessman.

Brian McConnachie QC, representing Andonov, told how the 28-year-old initially came over to the UK to find work and help his family back in Bulgaria.

He said it was unique in his experience to find a first offender involved in a case of such gravity.

"He is perhaps not the most intelligent person sitting in the dock at the moment," the lawyer said.

"If anyone in relation to this matter has been to a degree used, then that person will be Mr Andonov."

He went on: "The amount of money involved was relatively modest, one might have thought. There is nothing whatsoever in Mr Andonov's background or his behaviour up to this particular offence which would provide any real explanation as to why he would deem it appropriate to become involved in such a matter.

"It is, in many respects, inexplicable."

Police in Fife welcomed the sentencing today.

Officers worked with other organisations and law enforcement agencies across the UK and beyond to solve the case.

Detective Superintendent Colin Beattie, head of crime management for Fife Police, said: "Thankfully such crimes are extremely rare in Fife. However, these convictions show that whatever the gravity and magnitude of the crime, police officers and staff of Fife Constabulary, alongside our partners, have the structures and processes in place to bring these killers to justice."

PA

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