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Indian sailor's killer jailed for 18 years in Britain

world Updated: Nov 11, 2009 18:36 IST

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A UK court has sentenced a Briton to a minimum of 18 years in prison for the "racially-aggravated" murder of an Indian Navy officer near a Glasgow restaurant in March this year.

Christopher Miller had knifed 30-year-old Kunal Mohanty in the neck as he walked to the restaurant with his friends.

25-year-old Miller claimed in court that the incident was 'botched mugging' but a jury at the High Court in Glasgow returned a unanimous verdict of murder.

Sentencing him, temporary judge John Beckett on Tuesday told Miller: "Your behaviour after the murder suggested that you were anything but sorry and appeared to be celebrating".

"The murder was racially aggravated. There can be no justification for slashing the neck of someone who did you no harm... To do so because of the colour of a man's skin is as incomprehensible as it is evil," he said.

During the trial at the High Court in Glasgow prosecutors said the seaman was attacked because of his skin colour.

Mohanty, who was due to become a father for the first time, was in Glasgow to sit his captain's exams at the city's Nautical College.

The court was told that he was left bleeding to death from an 18cm long hole in his neck. A doctor described Mohanty's neck injury as "one of the worst he had ever seen".

Prosecuting lawyer Dorothy Bain said it was "an atrocity delivered without mercy, a death blow" and "an unprovoked attack on a blameless, defenceless and wholly decent man because Christopher Miller didn't like the colour of his skin.

As Mohanty lay dying in the street with blood gushing from his neck, Miller and his friend John McGrory, 20, were seen on CCTV running through a car park celebrating.

Miller's brother Jamie Miller, 17, gave evidence during the trial and said Miller told him he had "done a Paki".

The judge said everyone in this city and this country should be ashamed of his actions. He told Miller that it would be up to the parole board to decide when he is released.

After the verdict, Lesley Thomson, area procurator fiscal for Glasgow, said: "Mohanty was doing nothing other than enjoying time off his studies with friends. He was attacked for no reason other than that Christopher Miller is a racist".

"He died because Christopher Miller had a knife and had no hesitation in using it," she said, adding that Glasgow
rightly celebrates its cultural diversity and everyone should be free to enjoy the city in safety.

Det Insp Gary Thomson, the officer-in-charge of the investigation, said the racist murder of an innocent man on the streets caused a lot of concern and fear in the community, "however fortunately crimes of this nature aren't common".

"However one is still one too many, and the senseless loss of life is tragic," he said.