Posted on July 1, 2005

Two Guilty over Religion Killing

BBC News, June 30

Two men have been jailed for life for killing a man wrongly targeted in a dispute between Sikhs and Muslims.

Shimraz Kahn, 35, got a minimum of 18 years for the murder of Major Singh Gill at his West Midlands shop. Waheed Akhtar, 22, was given 15 years.

The men believed Mr Gill’s Sikh son was in a relationship with a young Muslim woman, Stafford Crown Court was told.

Two others were found not guilty. Two further suspects are believed to have fled to Pakistan.

The court heard Mr Gill, 45, a Sikh and father-of-three was attacked in his shop in West Bromwich by six men.

Mr Gill, of Duke Street, Wednesfield, died in hospital of head injuries following the attack at his Costcotter shop in Pemberton Road.

Prosecutor Anthony Barker, QC said Mr Gill was the victim of a deliberate and planned killing.

“Some men had clubs, iron bars and hockey sticks and inside the shopkeeper was clubbed to death,” he said.

“Yet the people who killed him had set out to kill someone else.

“They killed a perfectly innocent man who had done absolutely nothing.”

He said the story behind the killing was complicated but involved the relationship of a Sikh man and a Muslim woman.

Both families had wanted to put an end to the relationship which went on in secret for about a year.

Mr Akhtar, of Essex Street, Walsall, had claimed he was sitting in a van outside the store when the attack happened.

Mr Kahn gave his address as Bloxwich Road, Walsall.

Fiaz Ali, 30, of Croft Street, Walsall and Raja Hussain, 24, of Bloxwich Road, Walsall were cleared of the attack.