British war hero jailed for killing Bangladeshi waiter

October 17th, 2008 - 7:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Glasgow, Oct 17 (IANS) A British war hero was jailed for life Friday for the racist killing of a Bangladeshi waiter in a Scottish restaurant, ending one of Britain’s longest running murder cases.Sergeant Michael Ross, a 30-year-old Black Watch sniper who was decorated for bravery in Iraq, was told by the judge at Glasgow High Court that he had committed a “vicious, evil, unprovoked murder” and ordered to serve at least 25 years in jail.

Ross denied shooting 26-year-old Shamsuddin Mahmood inside Mumtaz Restaurant in Kirkwall, the main town on the remote Orkney group of islands off the northern coast of Britain, but was found guilty in June after a six-week trial.

Mahmood was shot in the head in full view of a room full of diners, including families with children, by a masked gunman on June 2, 1994, sparking one of Britain’s biggest manhunts.

It was the first murder on the island in 25 years and it sent shockwaves through its tight-knit community. Mumtaz was the only Indian restaurant on the Orkney Islands.

Ross’s father Eddie, a policeman who had been stationed outside the restaurant after the killing, has spent four years in jail for withholding information about ammunition that he found in his own home resembling the cartridge used to kill the waiter.

Ross, who was 15 when he committed the murder, was convicted after a new witness came forward last year. The former soldier tried to make a getaway at the trial in Glasgow this year, and even made it outside, but was overpowered by a court official.

Judge Andrew Rutherford Hardie told Ross Friday the pre-meditated assassination was motivated “by your extreme racist prejudice”.

The judge said Ross sympathised with Nazi Germany and added: “Your actions in murdering him were an act of cowardice and, despite what was said about your army career, it is clear from your actions after conviction, that you are still a coward.”

The region’s police said in a statement: “The sentencing today finally brings a conclusion to a long and difficult period for the family of Shamsuddin and the community in Orkney.”

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