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Indian-origin shopkeeper beaten to death, British court told

Indian-origin shopkeeper Gurmail Singh was battered to death after he restricted a gang of robbers at his shop in Britain Feb 20, a court has heard.

world Updated: Sep 03, 2010 07:57 IST

Indian-origin shopkeeper Gurmail Singh was battered to death after he restricted a gang of robbers at his shop in Britain Feb 20, a court has heard.

The 63-year-old man who came to Britain from India in 1963 was beaten over the head with bottles of wine taken from the shelves as he tried to stop four youngsters taking cash, cigarettes, alcohol and sweets from his shop in the Cowcliffe area of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, prosecutor Adrian Waterman told Bradford Crown Court on Thursday.

"Gurmail Singh did not meekly hand over his property, his hard-earned money," Waterman was quoted as saying by Daily Mail.

"When he resisted the robbers they used serious violence on him, grabbing the nearest weapon to hand, which happened to be bottles of wine he sold in the shop. He was hit on the head. It was that which caused his death."

"This was a robbery gone wrong," Waterman told the jury of nine women and three men on the first day of the trial of Umare Aslam, 20, Muawaz Khalid, 20, Shoaib Khan, 18, Nabeel Shafi, 18, and Rehman Afzal, 18.

All five defendants deny murder. Khalid, Khan and Aslam also deny robbery.

Waterman told the jury how smokers outside the pub opposite the shop realised something was wrong when they saw two of the robbers - Afzal and Aslam - walk and then run from the scene.

One man, David Singh, who is not related to the shopkeeper, went to the store and saw the two remaining robbers rifling through cigarettes and spirits bottles.

David Singh trapped them inside by holding the door as the two defendants - Khalid and Shafi - made a desperate attempt to smash their way out, the court heard.

Waterman described how the two robbers eventually found their way out of a back door and ran but both were tackled by members of the public.

Christopher Stoney, who lives nearby, tackled Shafi to the ground, the court was told, but the defendant managed to get away.

A man called Christopher Baker lunged at Khalid, causing him to stumble, but he got up and ran off, the prosecutor said, adding that the scene which confronted those who entered the shop was "a desperate one".

He said: "The deceased was lying on the floor in the corner of the shop. The turban he always wore was off and his head was very badly injured and bleeding."

The court was told Singh was attacked at about 8.30 pm Feb 20 and died the following day.