Shop assistant who hacked colleague to death with axe jailed for life

Imran Muhammed attacked married father-of-seven Seyed Khan (PA Images)

A shop assistant who hacked a colleague to death with an axe has been jailed for life.

Imran Muhammed attacked married father-of-seven Seyed Khan, 49, who suspected him of stealing money, amid fears he could be sent back to Pakistan after overstaying his visa.

Muhammed, 31, took Mr Khan by surprise as he arrived for a shift at A-Z Furniture and Carpets in Ilford, east London, on January 24, hitting him in the head with the deadly weapon at least 12 times.

The killer then wheeled the body in a shopping trolley from a nearby supermarket and dumped it in undergrowth at Ilford cemetery, jurors heard.

Undated handout CCTV still issued by the Crown Prosecution Service of Imran Muhammed reporting being robbed. The shop assistant has been found guilty of hacking a colleague to death (PA Images)

He went on to clean up the blood and “coolly and deliberately” call police to report he had been robbed and slashed with glass on the arm to “spin a false story”.

Mr Khan’s body was found eight days later after a search with a specially trained police dog, and the defendant was arrested in Glasgow.

Prosecutor Tim Cray said the defendant did not dispute the killing or that he tried to cover his tracks, but claimed loss of control following a sexual advance.

Undated CCTV of Imran Muhammed leaving a coach in Glasgow (PA Images)

But the prosecution asserted the defendant had lied and it was a “planned and deliberate murder”.

In the weeks before the killing, the victim told his wife that an employee had been stealing money but begged him to take pity.

Muhammed had previous convictions for dishonesty and was an over-stayer in the country, giving him a motive to kill, the court heard.

Jurors were told that four days before the attack, Muhammed searched the internet for “how to kill a man with a hammer”, with a punch, and “brain injuries”.

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The defendant, from Ilford, east London, denied murder, but a jury rejected his explanation and convicted him by a majority of 11 to one after 13 hours and 25 minutes.

He was remanded in custody to be sentenced on Friday.

Mr Khan’s eldest son Khalil Khan said: “My dad was a kind, loving and caring man who would always put others before himself. His death has had a huge impact on our lives, which have now changed forever.

“We had such a happy, caring and joyful family. This has now been destroyed forever by an awful, heartless act that none of us deserved.

“We have been left with a void in our lives that can never be filled. We all miss him so much.”