Advertisement

Man guilty of murder after rookie British police officer was killed in an armed robbery in 2005

LONDON (AP) — A man was convicted Thursday of the murder of a British police officer who was shot dead during an armed robbery of a travel agency in northern England nearly two decades ago.

Piran Ditta Khan was convicted by a 10-1 majority after 11 jurors deliberated for almost 19 hours over four days at Leeds Crown Court.

Sharon Beshenivsky, 38, was a recent recruit when she responded to an alert and was shot dead at point-blank range by one of the three men who carried out the robbery at the family-run Universal Express travel agents in the city of Bradford in November 2005. Her colleague, Teresa Milburn, survived after being shot in the chest.

Beshenivsky, who had three children and two stepchildren, was gunned down on her youngest daughter’s fourth birthday and had been an officer for only nine months when she died from her injuries.

Milburn, herself only two years in the job, told police the pair “didn’t have a chance” to get away from the gunman, and that they would have run away if they had been warned.

Police officers in Britain do not carry guns on routine patrols.

Khan, 75, was the last of the seven men involved in the robbery to be convicted and was considered the plot mastermind. He stayed in the lookout car during the robbery.

Khan fled to Pakistan two months after the robbery. He was arrested by local authorities in Pakistan in January 2020 and finally was extradited to the U.K. last year.

“This verdict is the culmination of 18 years of hard work, tenacious grit and determination to bring Khan before the courts," said West Yorkshire Police Detective Superintendent Marc Bowes. “Sharon went to work to protect the public, she responded to a call for help alongside her colleague Teresa but tragically never came home.”

Prosecutors argued that Khan played a pivotal role in the planning of the robbery and that he knew that firearms were to be used. He denied the allegations.

They said this made him guilty of Beshenivsky’s murder “as surely as if he had pulled the trigger on that pistol himself."