Father and son get life for beheading man

A FATHER and son were jailed for life at the Old Bailey yesterday for the 'foul crime' of beheading a shopkeeper.

The jury took more than six hours to find Majid Syed, 60, and his son Moddessir Jafri, 24, of Slough, Berkshire, guilty of murdering Khalid Dad, 21, in May last year. A second son, Kauser, was acquitted on the direction of the judge because there was no case to answer.

After the jury returned its unanimous verdict, Judge John Murchie told Syed and Jafri there was only one sentence for such a 'foul crime'. He described the case as 'one of the most distressing ever heard in this old and ancient court'. As the two men were led to the cells, Younes Dad, brother of the victim, shouted from the public gallery: 'They should bring back hanging for people like you.'

Although counsel for the prosecution admitted the murder appeared to be motiveless, Det Supt Mike Cox, who led the murder inquiry, believes that Mr Dad was having an affair with Syed's second wife, Fatima. Mr Cox said that after the murder several people gave statements claiming that Mr Dad had told them he was having an affair with Mrs Syed. 'But this evidence was inadmissible because it was hearsay,' he said. At a previous trial at Reading Crown Court in June prosecution counsel alleged that Mrs Syed was the 'bait' to lure Mr Dad into the house. Mrs Syed denied the affair and was acquitted of the murder.

Younes Dad believes the motive was money: 'Khalid had lent them several thousand pounds and they couldn't repay him.'

Khalid Dad, who had been married for six months, was a close friend of Kauser and visited the family home regularly. Prosecution counsel alleged that Syed and Jafri attacked Mr Dad from behind, hitting him on the head with a blunt instrument. His ankles and wrists were tied with rope and he was gagged 'to the point of asphyxiation'. Richard Shepherd, a forensic pathologist, told the court that Mr Dad's head was severed by a single blow. Although the murder weapon has never been found, a neighbour told the court she saw Kauser carrying a sword into his house a month before the murder.

Mr Dad's head was found in a black plastic bag in the gutter of Waterbeach Road, Slough, on 21 May 1991 by a motorist. His semi-naked body was found half a mile away, wrapped in a pink bedspread. Police found Mr Dad's bloodstained clothing, with rope and other items, in Syed's loft.

There were splashes of blood on the dining-room walls and floor. Syed and Jafri used foam from a sofa to soak up Mr Dad's blood. The bloodstained foam was found with the body, in Syed's loft and on an unlit bonfire in the garden. Pink fibres, believed to be from the bedspread, and Jafri's fingerprint covered in blood were found in Syed's car.

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