Shop assistant jailed for killing his boss in frenzied knife attack

Police forensic officers inside the Bismillah Food Store in Rotherham following the murder of shopkeeper Parvaiz Iqbal. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
Police forensic officers inside the Bismillah Food Store in Rotherham following the murder of shopkeeper Parvaiz Iqbal. Picture: Ross Parry Agency
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A shop worker has been jailed for a minimum of 27 years for murdering his “friendly and popular” boss in a frenzied knife attack.

Naeem Mehmood, 27, stabbed Parvaiz Iqbal 51 times in the freezer room of his butcher’s store and supermarket in Rotherham last October.

Police forensic officers inside the Bismillah Food Store in Rotherham following the murder of shopkeeper Parvaiz Iqbal. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

Police forensic officers inside the Bismillah Food Store in Rotherham following the murder of shopkeeper Parvaiz Iqbal. Picture: Ross Parry Agency

Mr Iqbal, 40, was found with a 7in knife stuck almost up to the hilt in his chest, a judge at Sheffield Crown Court heard.

Another shop worker who came to his boss’s aid was stabbed in the stomach but survived.

Prosecutor Peter Moulson QC described how, after the attack at the Bismallah Food Store, Mehmood went on a 10-minute rampage, smashing windows and threatening members of the public with a huge machete he picked up after leaving the murder weapon embedded in Mr Iqbal’s chest.

Mr Moulson said the defendant shouted: “Don’t come outside or I will gut you up” in Punjabi as passers-by fled in terror.

He was eventually arrested after he was confronted by an unarmed police officer, Chief Inspector Ian Womersley.

Mehmood was jailed for life yesterday by Mr Justice Males who ordered he serve a minimum of 27 years. Earlier, he had pleaded guilty to murdering Mr Iqbal and causing Saied Husseine grievous bodily harm with intent.

The judge said: “This was a brutal, sustained and unprovoked attack, beginning with a cowardly stab in the back by a lethal weapon.”

He told Mehmood: “All murder is very serious but the seriousness of this offence was particularly high. It involved a savage and ferocious attack with a lethal weapon, premeditation and gratuitous violence continuing well after Mr Iqbal was bleeding to death on the floor.

“There was also a deliberate and murderous attack on Mr Husseine, which could very easily have caused his death. Your conduct as you left the store and proceeded along the road, terrifying and threatening innocent members of the public as you went, was a serious aggravating factor.”

The judge said father-of-three Mr Iqbal was “a friendly and popular member of the community who was well-liked and respected by his employees, his customers and all who knew him”.

He noted how Mehmood terrified members of the public as he made “bloodthirsty threats” in the street while brandishing the 10in machete above his head.

Mehmood then smashed up cars outside the store before breaking the windows of a barber’s shop, showering customers with glass and threatening the owner.

The judge said: “The aftermath, as you left the store and rampaged down the road in broad daylight for about 10 minutes, leaving a trail of destruction behind you, caused real and understandable fear to many members of the public.”

But he said: “Why you acted as you did is not apparent.”

The court heard that Mehmood, who came to Britain from Pakistan in 2011, started work at the shop in June 2013 but went on sick leave in August after part of his finger was chopped off in a machine.

The judge said the defendant had returned to work the day before he attacked his boss, on October 15.

He said: “It may be that you were reacting to what you perceived, with no justification at all, as some kind of slight or that you harboured some kind of grudge.

“But, in any event, there is not the slightest excuse for what you did.”

Passing sentence, he told Mehmood: “It is apparent from your conduct in this case that you are a very dangerous man and present a considerable risk to public safety.”

The judge also commended the actions of Mr Womersley, who confronted Mehmood in a Tesco car park. The unarmed officer approached the bloodstained defendant and convinced him to put down his machete.

Speaking outside court, Detective Inspector Kevin Brown, from South Yorkshire Police, said Mr Brown said Mr Womersley “put his life at risk” to disarm Mehmood.

Mr Brown said Mehmood originally suggested that he had been disrespected by Mr Iqbal but more than a dozen of his other employees talked of him as being the “perfect boss” when interviewed by detectives.

Mehmood, of Herringthorpe Valley Road, Rotherham, was given a 10-year prison sentence for the attack on Mr Husseine, to run concurrently.