Life sentences for Lower Earley shooting trio

Published: 12 Apr 2012 18:20

THREE men who plotted to gun down a taxi driver outside his Lower Earley home after a family dispute in their native Pakistan are beginning life sentences tonight (Thursday).

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Imran Khan 35, from Lower Earley and Amjed Mahmood, 31, and Jaspal Kajla, 36, both from Coventry, were sentenced by Judge Zoe Smith today at Reading Crown Court after being convicted for the attempted murder of father-of-three Qadir Hussain.

Kajla shouted "thank you" as he and his two accomplices were sent down and Mr Hussain sat silently in the public gallery surrounded by family after the jury took eight hours and 14 minutes to return their guilty verdicts by a majority of 11-1 for Mahmood and 10-2 for Kajla.

Judge Smith, branding it a "serious offence" told the men: "This was an intended murder by use of a firearm and in respect of Mahmood and Kajla an intended killing for gain. You each demonstrated a high level of culpability and it's so serious only a life sentence is appropriate."

Khan, who was convicted unanimously after three hours and 20 minutes on Tuesday, initially plotted with Mahmood to kill Hussain in September 2010 after a fatal family dispute in Pakistan two years earlier. Mahmood teamed up with Kajla and the pair stole a car before driving to Reading and "laying in wait" for Hussain at his home in The Delph before ambushing him when he returned home from work, shooting him three times in his driveway - the bullets piercing his shoulder, arm and chest.

The trio's lawyers pleaded for clemency and Stuart Trimmer, QC, for Khan, said his client was not a "professional assassin".

But Judge Smith, who ordered all three to serve a minimum of 10½ years, said it was "meticulously planned" and told Khan: "You determined he should die so your family could seek revenge and carry out what was no less than an execution."

She said it was "pure chance" Mr Hussain escaped serious injury.

In a statement Mr Hussain, who was discharged from hospital the same day of the attack, after treatment for his wounds, thanked police and added: "They have dealt with my family and me with great care and consideration. The support provided by these officers will not be forgotten."

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Tolmie branded it a "targeted incident" and added: "It is only due to luck that no bullet struck any vital organ or blood vessel. This incident could just have easily been a murder investigation.

"We hope that today's verdict provides some closure for Mr Hussain and his family and will allow them to get on with their lives."

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