A former Aberdeen restaurateur has been arrested in Pakistan in connection with the fatal shooting of a police officer in England.
Piran Ditta Khan – known to friends and associates in Aberdeen as Peter – has been arrested in Pakistan in connection with the murder of PC Sharon Beshenivsky, who was shot while on duty in Bradford, West Yorkshire, in 2005.
The 71-year-old, who lived in the Granite City from the early 1980s until 1998, was held on Tuesday after an operation involving the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Pakistani police.
He appeared in an Islamabad court yesterday, where his extradition was discussed.
Khan was remanded in custody to appear at court on January 29.
PC Beshenivsky was fatally shot while responding to a robbery at Universal Travel in Morley Street, Bradford, on November 18 2005 in a case that shocked the nation.
Khan, a former bouncer who was suspected of being the gang organiser, left the UK after the raid and West Yorkshire Police issued a fresh appeal to find him in 2016, putting up a £20,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.
Det Supt Mark Swift said: “I would like to thank the NCA officers in Pakistan and partners who have made this arrest possible.
“This is a major development in this long-running investigation and their assistance in this matter cannot be understated.
“We are continuing to liaise with partners in Pakistan to process Khan’s extradition with the intention of returning him to the UK to face court proceedings.”
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
Khan was born in Pakistan and left the country in the late 1960s, settling in Bradford.
He worked in the city’s mills in the early 1970s and moved to the north-east in the early 1980s.
He worked in the Shish Mahal restaurant on King Street and owned another takeaway.
Khan launched another restaurant – Crown Palace on Justice Mill Lane – but it closed in April 1998 after a fire.
An associate of Khan told the Evening Express at the time that Khan had left the north-east shortly after the fire.
Those behind the Bradford raid were members of a London-based gang
At the time of her death, PC Beshenivsky was a 38-year-old married mother-of-three with two stepchildren. She was a probationer with only nine months’ service.
Her colleague PC Teresa Millburn was also shot but survived.
She later gave evidence at the trial of members of the armed gang who were charged with being involved in the murder.
Eleven months after the raid, three men were jailed at Newcastle Crown Court.
Yusuf Jama, then 20, of London, was found guilty of murder, robbery and firearms offences and was jailed for a minimum of 35 years.
Muzzaker Shah, then 25, of London, was convicted of the same offences and was also jailed for a minimum of 35 years.
Faisal Razzaq, then 25, of London, was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter. He was jailed for a minimum of 11 years.
Faisal had driven one of the cars the gang took to the travel agency and acted as lookout.
In March 2007, Hassan Razzaq, then 26, of London, was convicted of manslaughter and jailed for a minimum of 20 years.
He had also been a lookout.
Raza Ul-Haq, then 26, was convicted of robbery and jailed for eight years.
In November 2007, the Home Office extradited Mustaf Jama from Somalia.
It took another 20 months for Jama, then 29, to be convicted of murder, robbery and firearms offences. He was jailed for a minimum of 35 years.
During the case it emerged Jama was released from prison six months before PC Beshenivsky’s murder, having been jailed for burglary and robbery offences.
It also emerged the Home Office had ruled it too dangerous for him to be deported to Somalia.
West Yorkshire Police Federation said officers were delighted at the breakthrough.
Federation chairman Brian Booth said: “I know my colleagues in West Yorkshire are delighted to hear about the arrest of Khan, and will now be watching closely the wheels of justice turning in this case and how this plays out.
“The murder of Sharon and the attempted murder of her colleague PC Teresa Milburn sent a shockwave not only through West Yorkshire but throughout the world.
“We still mourn the loss of Sharon and I wish to pass on my thanks, on behalf of my West Yorkshire colleagues, to the National Crime Agency in Pakistan for making this arrest possible,” he added.
The UK’s High Commissioner to Pakistan said “a tremendous amount of work” had gone on behind the scenes with local organisations and the British police.
Christian Turner said: “Teams at the British High Commission in Islamabad, West Yorkshire Constabulary and our partners in Pakistan have worked together to make this possible.
“We will continue to liaise with our partners in Pakistan to ensure Mr Khan’s extradition moves forward as part of the search for justice for PC Sharon Beshenivsky.”