Seventeen years after the tragic and cowardly murder of West Yorkshire Police constable Sharon Beshenivsky, Piran Ditta Khan, 74, has been extradited from Pakistan and charged with her murder.
Beshenivsky was shot and killed in 2005 during a robbery in Bradford, making her the seventh female police officer in Great Britain to be killed on duty.
Khan was arrested in Pakistan in January 2020 after years of investigation and collaboration between West Yorkshire Police, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the National Crime Agency, and Pakistani authorities.
He has been extradited to the UK and is now facing charges of murder, robbery, two counts of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, and two counts of possessing a prohibited weapon.
On November 18, 2005, Beshenivsky and her colleague, PC Teresa Millburn, responded to an attack alarm at a travel agent on Morley Street in Bradford.
Upon their arrival, the officers encountered three men who had just robbed the agent of £5,405.
Two were armed with a gun, and another with a knife. One of the gunmen immediately fired at point-blank range, fatally wounding Beshenivsky in the chest and seriously injuring Millburn.
The attackers then fled the scene in a convoy of cars.
Closed-circuit television cameras tracked the car rushing from the scene and used an automatic number plate recognition system to trace its owners, leading to the arrest of six suspects.
Three of them were later convicted of murder, robbery, and firearms offences; two of manslaughter, robbery, and firearms offences; and one of robbery. The alleged mastermind of the robbery, Piran Ditta Khan, had fled to Pakistan.
In 2014, police renewed their appeal for information leading to Khan’s arrest, offering a £20,000 reward. He was eventually arrested in Pakistan on January 14, 2020, and was remanded in custody before being extradited to the UK in April 2023.
Khan is scheduled to appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on April 13, 2023. His extradition and the charges brought against him represent a significant step towards justice for Beshenivsky and her family.
Beshenivsky, a mother of three and stepmother to two, was killed on her youngest daughter’s fourth birthday. Her funeral took place on January 6, 2006, at Bradford Cathedral.
The case serves as a reminder of the dedication and determination of law enforcement agencies to bring those responsible for crimes to justice, even years after the events have taken place.
West Yorkshire Police have expressed gratitude to the National Crime Agency, the Pakistani authorities, and the CPS for their invaluable assistance.
The tragic loss of PC Beshenivsky has had a lasting impact on her family, colleagues, and the wider community.
In 2009, a memorial to Beshenivsky was unveiled at the location of her death. Then Prime Minister Gordon Brown paid tribute to the officer’s “dedication, professionalism, and courage” at the unveiling.
Michael Winner, chairman of the Police Memorial Trust, also praised Beshenivsky and police officers across the country, saying:
“Take them away and there’s total anarchy and we are devoured by the forces of evil.”
The extradition of Piran Ditta Khan and the charges against him represent a significant step in the pursuit of justice for PC Beshenivsky and her family.
The other individuals involved in the robbery and subsequently arrested, charged, and sentenced for their roles in the incident are as follows:
- Mustaf Jama – Convicted of murder, robbery, and firearms offences. Sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 35 years.
- Yusuf Jama – Convicted of murder, robbery, and firearms offences. Sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 35 years.
- Muzzaker Imtiaz Shah – Convicted of murder, robbery, and firearms offences. Sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 35 years.
- Faisal Razzaq – Convicted of manslaughter, robbery, and firearms offences. Sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 11 years.
- Hassan Razzaq – Convicted of manslaughter, robbery, and firearms offences. Sentenced to 20 years in prison.
- Raza Ul-Haq Aslam – Convicted of robbery. Sentenced to eight years in prison.
In addition to these six individuals, Hewan Gordon was jailed for 18 months in 2007 for helping Muzzaker Shah evade capture.
However, in 2010, he won an appeal against a government bid to deport him back to Somalia, reportedly made on human rights grounds.
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