A robber who killed a shopkeeper 25 years ago was jailed for six years today after walking into a police station to confess to the unsolved crime.
Paul Marshall, 23 at the time, stabbed Nasir Ali Turabee, 45, twice in front of his teenage son in north London, in September 1985, the Old Bailey heard.
But detectives never found out who was responsible until April last year when Marshall handed himself in at Kentish Town police station.
"He said the death of the victim had been on his mind ever since and that he had felt guilty all his life as he had killed someone's father for £80," said Jeremy Donne QC, prosecuting.
The court heard that Marshall grabbed the victim's son Ikhlaq, 14, pushing him into the shop and saying: "Give me the money or I'll kill him."
He would later tell officers that the shopkeeper rushed at him and he thrust a flick knife in his direction but that he never meant to harm him.
Marshall, now 47, looked relieved as he pleaded guilty to robbery and manslaughter today.
Mr Donne said it was "a very unusual case" and all of the Crown's case against the defendant was what he himself told police.
Judge Richard Hawkins told Marshall: "No sentence can reflect the consequence to the family of the death of the victim but it is clear that you have shown genuine remorse by coming forward and confessing to these crimes."
The court heard Mr Turabee was an Indian immigrant who worked as an economics teacher at Langham School in Tottenham, and opened a general store in Archway Road in April 1985 to supplement his family's income. His wife was a nurse.
On September 21 1985 he was about to close up when Marshall, wearing a green boiler suit, approached his son and asked if the shop was still open.
Being told that it was, the robber pulled a plastic bag with two holes cut into it over his head, grabbing the boy by the neck, pushing him into the store, and making his threat.
The teenager ran to the till to get money for the knifeman and though he was aware of a scuffle behind him he did not see what happened.
Marshall then came up behind him and snatched banknotes from the till before running off.
Mr Turabee had been stabbed twice, with one of the wounds penetrating his heart, and was taken to Whittington Hospital where he died later that night.
Marshall would later tell police that he only discovered later from watching television what had happened to the victim.
Mr Turabee's son, now a 39-year-old finance director, said in a statement that his father's death had a "profound impact" on his and his mother's lives.
Police launched an investigation at the time but were unable to identify a suspect and it was closed in January 1986.
A cold case review in February 2009 failed to establish any new leads and it was shelved again. Evidence originally found at the scene, including the plastic bag, had been lost.
When Marshall confessed last year he seemed "truly upset and remorseful" and said it was because he "could no longer live with the guilt", the court heard.
He said what he did "had ruined his life and he could not move on because of what he had done to the dead man's family", said Mr Donne.
When asked to show police where the robbery took place, he at first identified the wrong premises, but it was because a bus stop that had been outside the shop which he used as a point of reference was no longer there.
The court heard that since the killing Marshall had gone to the US where he met a woman and had a child but he returned to Britain after they split up.
Whilst he was in Florida he was jailed for 38 months in 1996 for aggravated battery, after he slashed a flatmate in the face.
In 2002 he was given a year's probation for domestic battery after hitting his partner in front of their child, and soon afterwards came back to Britain.