A ROTHERHAM 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, in October last year.
Mr Iqbal, 40, was found with a 7in (18cm) 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 the ordeal.
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 to strangers as passers-by fled in terror.
He was eventually arrested after he was confronted by an unarmed police officer, Chief Inspector Ian Womersley.
Mr Moulson said the attack on Mr Iqbal was “unprovoked, sustained and determined”.
Mehmood was jailed for life today by Mr Justice Males who ordered he serve a minimum of 27 years.
Earlier, Mehmood 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 (25.5cm) machete above his head.
The court heard that he smashed up glass displays in Mr Iqbal’s shop, swearing and shouting as young children looked on.
Mehmood then smashed up a series of 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 May 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 at the store.
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.”
The judge said there was also no evidence of Mehmood suffering from any kind of mental disorder.
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 the car park of a Tesco supermarket. The unarmed officer approached the bloodstained defendant, who was still brandishing the machete, and convinced him to put down the weapon.
Speaking outside court, Detective Inspector Kevin Brown, from South Yorkshire Police, said: “It was a frenzied and unprovoked attack on Mr Iqbal and I think the sentence reflects that.”
Mr Brown said Mr Womersely “put his life at risk” to disarm Mehmood, who appeared in the dock surrounded by prison officers.
“There’s nothing really that’s come out in our investigation to explain why,” the officer said.
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, which the judge ordered to run concurrently.