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Mastermind of 2005 armed robbery found guilty in PC Beshenivsky murder

A jury at Leeds Crown Court have found Piran Ditta Khan guilty of murdering PC Sharon Beshenivsky in Bradford in 2005.

Piran Ditta Khan fled to Pakistan in January 2006 after the West Yorkshire Police officer was shot dead and her colleague Teresa Milburn was seriously injured in Bradford and stayed there until he was extradited in April last year. He’ll be sentenced at a later date.

Prosecutors said Khan, 75, planned the raid at Universal Express travel agent in Morley Street, Bradford, West Yorkshire on 18 November 2005.

Unarmed and unprepared, PC Beshenivsky, 38, a mere nine months into her service, responded with courage alongside her colleague PC Teresa Milburn who was 37 at the time, only to be shot at point-blank range.

PC Sharon Beshenivsky died from her injuries in 2005 Image: West Yorkshire Police

PC Beshenivsky, died from her injuries, while PC Milburn, who was also shot in the chest, survived.

Khan was convicted of murder by a majority of 10-1 after 11 jurors deliberated for almost 19 hours over four days.

He was also found guilty of two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and was unanimously convicted of two counts of possession of a prohibited weapon.

Khan has previously pleaded guilty to robbery.

The judge, Mr Justice Hilliard, thanked the jury for its role in the case of a police officer who “set off for work that morning and never came home, all for doing her job to try and keep us all safe”.

“Even after so many years it hardly bears thinking about,” he said.

“The only sentence for murder is imprisonment for life, I have to set the minimum term.”

At his trial at Leeds Crown Court, he claimed the owner of the travel agency owed him £12,000 and thought the men sent to recover the money would only “intimidate” the staff.

Prosecutors said that although Khan was not one of the three smartly dressed men who carried out the robbery, he had played a “pivotal” role and was guilty of murder “as surely as if he pulled the trigger on that pistol himself”.

He pleaded guilty to robbery and was today found guilty of murder.

Khan is the last of the seven men involved in the raid to be tried – Mustaf Jama, Yusuf Jama and Muzzaker Shah are serving life sentences with minimum 35-year terms after being found guilty of murder, robbery and firearms offences in 2006 and 2007.

The court heard Khan, who had told his accomplices they would make between £50,000 to £100,000, did not leave the safety of the Mercedes SLK used as the lookout car.

PC Beshenivsky was the seventh serving female officer ever to be killed in the line of duty in Britain and left behind her husband Paul, three children and two stepchildren.

Detective Superintendent Marc Bowes, of West Yorkshire Police, said: “Today as always our thoughts remain with PC Sharon Beshenivsky and her family.

“Sharon went to work to protect the public, she responded to a call for help alongside her colleague Teresa but tragically never came home.

“This verdict is the culmination of 18 years of hard work, tenacious grit and determination to bring Khan before the courts.”

“PC Sharon Beshinivsky lost her life in the most horrific circumstances in the line of duty. She will always be remembered.”

Custody footage of Piran Ditta Khan at Elland Road Police Station April 2023 
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