Man jailed for life for killing friend and dumping body in shallow grave

Mohammed Shah Subhani’s body was rolled up in a carpet and transported to woodland in Buckinghamshire, where it was burnt and buried.

Emily Pennink
Thursday 05 October 2023 17:56 BST
Mohammed Shah Subhani was ambushed at a premises in Hounslow, west London, in May 2019 (Family handout/PA)
Mohammed Shah Subhani was ambushed at a premises in Hounslow, west London, in May 2019 (Family handout/PA)

A man was branded a “cowardly animal” as he was jailed for life for killing a former friend and dumping his partially burnt body in a shallow grave.

Amraj Poonia had ambushed Mohammed Shah Subhani, 27, at R&J Plumbing in Hounslow, west London, on May 7 2019.

After entering the premises, Mr Subhani was killed and his body rolled up in a carpet to be transported to woodland where it was burnt and buried.

Later the same day, Poonia, “unashamedly” went to the Subhani family home in Hounslow and acted as if nothing had happened, an Old Bailey jury was told.

The case was initially treated as a missing persons inquiry before a murder investigation was launched and possible suspects identified.

The breakthrough came around six months later when an individual, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, walked into a police station, admitted taking part in the disposal of Mr Subhani’s body and named his killer.

Acting on the information, Mr Subhani’s badly decomposed body was found miles away in woodland in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire.

The court was told that Mr Subhani was killed at the Poonia business after falling out over a kilo of cannabis that went missing after it was given to Amraj Poonia for safe-keeping.

Associate Mohanad Riad had recruited two local drug dealers to help stage a fake theft but suspicions erupted into incidents of violence in the weeks before the killing, jurors heard.

Following an Old Bailey trial, Amraj Poonia, 28, aka Bigs, from Horley, was found guilty of murder and perverting the course of justice.

On Thursday, he was jailed for life with a minimum term of 25 years.

His brother Raneel Poonia, 26, aka Ace, from Slough, was jailed for seven years for perverting the course of justice.

Riad, 23, known as Emz, from Hounslow, and Mahamud Ismail, 27, aka Skinny and Major, from Brentford, were found guilty of the same offence and jailed for two years and five-and-a-half years respectively.

In victim impact statements, Mr Subhani’s family condemned the killers as “cowardly animals”.

His sister Iqra Subhani said her brother had been robbed of his life “in the most cowardly and heinous way by his so-called friends”.

Addressing the dock, she said: “Even after you brutally killed him, you did not spare him – you continued to torment him after he was dead.

“My brother had the spirit of a lion. But a lion can only do so much when he is ambushed by hyenas and that is what you cowardly animals did.”

Amraj Poonia is a dangerous individual and I have no doubt that the streets of west London are far safer now he, and his accomplices, have been convicted

Detective Chief Inspector Vicky Tunstall

Father Gul Subhani described his son’s murder as “pure evil”, saying: “They disregarded his body like a piece of rubbish. He did not go there to fight. He was a lover not a fighter.”

The thought of his son’s body being rolled into a carpet and set alight “makes our skin crawl”, he said.

He added: “This is an unending pain for all of us, a pain we will take to our grave.

“How can we have closure when we could not even have 100% of our boy back?”

Mr Subhani’s partner Thelma, who was pregnant with their child when he was killed, told the court: “He was my best friend and confidante all in one.”

Following the convictions, Detective Chief Inspector Vicky Tunstall said: “Amraj Poonia is a dangerous individual and I have no doubt that the streets of west London are far safer now he, and his accomplices, have been convicted – I hope that this outcome and the diligent investigation that led to their conviction improves the trust that communities can have in the Metropolitan Police.”

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