• Welcome to all New Sikh Philosophy Network Forums!
    Explore Sikh Sikhi Sikhism...
    Sign up Log in

UK Gang Killed Shopkeeper With His Own Wine Bottles, Court Told


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
A shopkeeper was beaten to death with wine bottles from his own shelves as he tried to fend off a gang of thieves, a court heard today.

Gurmail Singh, who was 63, died as he defended the Huddersfield shop he had built up as a retirement business after working in a mill and a factory for 40 years.

The turban he always wore as a devout Sikh was ripped off and he was battered about the head by four youths in the attack, which happened in February, Adrian Waterman QC, prosecuting, told Bradford crown court.

"Gurmail Singh did not meekly hand over his property, his hard-earned money," he told the jury in his opening address.

"When he resisted the robbers, they used serious violence on him, grabbing the nearest weapon to hand – 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."

The alleged members of the gang, Umare Aslam, 20, Muawaz Khalid, also 20, 18-year-old Shoaib Khan, Nabeel Shafi, 18, and Rehman Afzal, 18, all from Huddersfield, deny murder.

The court heard that smokers outside the pub opposite the shop realised something was wrong when two of the youths, Afzal and Aslam, ran away.

Two of the smokers went over to the shop and found Khalid and Shafi grabbing cigarettes and bottles of spirits and searching for cash in the till.
One, David Singh, no relation to the victim, trapped the robbers inside by holding the door closed as they tried to smash their way out.

Two other members of the public, Christopher Stoney and Christopher Baker, tackled the pair when they eventually fled through the shop's back door, but both got away.

The jury heard that Stoney, who lives nearby, rugby-tackled Shafi, bringing him to the ground, but the defendant managed to escape. Baker lunged at Khalid, who stumbled and almost fell but also escaped.

Waterman told the court: "The scene inside the shop was a desperate one. 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 jury heard that Singh had come to Yorkshire from India in 1963, raising a family while working first in a mill and then for a pipe-making firm.

He took early retirement five years ago and invested in the shop, in the town's Cowcliffe area, where he became a popular figure.

The court was told there had never been any trouble at the shop until an attempted robbery two days before the fatal raid. Two men were involved and Singh managed to force them away, suffering minor injuries.
Waterman said there was no known connection between the two incidents, but that the defendants "must have known" about the first attempt because of local publicity.

After Singh's death, there was a stream of tributes and an overflow attendance at an interfaith memorial service in Huddersfield.

The court heard that one of the accused, Khan, had not been in the shop because there was no room for him in the taxi that had taken the rest of the gang to the scene.

But Waterman said: "It is the crown's case that each of these defendants was, at the very least, involved in a joint enterprise. They were in it together and each was responsible, criminally, for his death."
The trial continues.



  • singh-001.jpg
    15.7 KB · Reads: 211


Aug 17, 2010
World citizen!
I feel very bad for Gurmail Singh and his family, this kind of thing shouldn't happen to anyone. In the same heartbeat it saddens me to see someone selling alcohol called a 'devout Sikh'. A similar incident happened in New Zealand last year (though in this case the wine shop owner was a clean shaven Sikh). Afterwards the family appealed to the Sikh community for help and this split the community. Many agreed to help but on the grounds of humanity whereas others felt an obligation to help due to the Sikh label. I'm glad Gurmail Singh showed bravery against the thieves, I'm sad that he lost his life in the process but I'm also wondering why a devout Sikh is selling alcohol. I hope this doesn't make me hardhearted :unsure::a15: