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Pair jailed for shopkeeper murder

Two men have been jailed for life for the "sickeningly violent" murder of a shopkeeper who was battered to death with wine bottles from his shelves during a botched robbery.

Gurmail Singh, 63, was attacked for just a few pounds, some sweets, alcohol and cigarettes during a raid at his shop in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, in February.

Muawaz Khalid, 20, was told he must spend at least 21 years in prison by a judge at Bradford Crown Court. Nabeel Shafi, 18, who protested his innocence as he was led from the dock, was given a 20-year minimum term.

The judge, Mr Justice Henriques, said: "This was a most violent and sickening attack by at least two of you on a lone shopkeeper late at night. It is to be regretted that no defendant at any time during the eight-week trial showed the slightest remorse."

"If Gurmail Singh had abandoned his property and money and said 'take what you want boys', he would not have lost his life. He was too brave for that. There may have been mental or physical suffering inflicted on the victim before death, in the sense this was a sickeningly violent and unnecessarily savage assault on a man in his 60s."

Gang member Rehman Afzal, 18, was sentenced to five years and four months for his part in the robbery. Umare Aslam, 20, received a six-and-a-half-year sentence for robbery. Shoaib Khan, 18, received an eight-month sentence for assisting an offender but will be released because of time already served on remand.

Aslam, of Coniston Avenue, Dalton, Huddersfield; Khalid, of Blackmoorfoot Road, Huddersfield; Khan, of Calton Street, Hillhouse, Huddersfield; Shafi, of Park Hill, Bradley, Huddersfield; and Afzal, of Jacinth Court, Fartown, Huddersfield, all denied murder.

Aslam, Afzal and Khan were cleared of murder following the trial. Khalid, who has a conviction for affray, and Aslam were convicted of robbery while Khan was cleared of the charge.

Afzal and Shafi pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to robbing Mr Singh. Khan, who was released from custody 20 days before the robbery after serving a sentence for assault, admitted the charge of assisting an offender.

Speaking after the case, Detective Superintendent Dave Pervin said: "The people sentenced will have a long time to reflect on what they have done in robbing and murdering Mr Singh. I would like to thank the brave people who tried to prevent those responsible from getting away from the scene of the crime."

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