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British soldier faces sentence for Asian murder

A British soldier faces life imprisonment after being convicted of a racist murder of an Asian waiter in an Indian restaurant.

world Updated: Jun 21, 2008 18:16 IST

A decorated British soldier was convicted of a racist murder of an Asian waiter in an Indian restaurant and now faces life imprisonment.

As Judge Lord Hardie pronounced the judgement at the High Court in Glasgow, 29-year-old Michael Ross leapt over the dock and charged across the courtroom in an attempt to escape on Friday.

Ross dashed towards a side door, where a middle-aged court official rugby-style tackled him and held him down. The judge praised the official for his bravery and observed that he had never seen anything like it in eight years on the bench.

The extraordinary scenes came at the end of a six-week trial at the Court in which Ross's respectable veneer - he was mentioned in dispatches in 2005 for bravery under fire after a suicide bombing in Iraq that claimed three lives - was steadily chipped away.

Ross, a sniper with Black Watch was aged 15 when he walked into Orkney's only Indian restaurant in June 1994 and shot dead Shamsuddin Mahmood, a Bangladeshi aged 26, in front of diners and staff.

After four hours of deliberations, the jury found Ross guilty yesterday of "savage, merciless and pointless" murder 14 years ago, the first in Orkney for 25 years and a crime that shocked the island community.

Ross, who listened to the verdict impassively before making his attempt to escape, faces life imprisonment. He was remanded in custody for sentencing next month.

The court heard evidence of his teenage racism and an unhealthy obsession with guns allegedly encouraged by his father, a local policeman who withheld information about the shooting from colleagues.