Nephew found guilty of murder within month of prison release

A VIOLENT criminal just out of prison has been jailed for life after being convicted of murdering his uncle who was stabbed in his own flat.

Zaheer Andrew Aziz, 44, had only been released from prison on licence less than a month before he plunged a knife into the chin of Mohammed Shabir Choudary, which went down his neck penetrating his chest.

Mr Choudary, 52, had brought Aziz up as his own son and let him stay with him at his flat in Gill Syke Grove, Thornes, Wakefield, only days before his death on January 18.

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Aziz claimed it was his uncle who had the knife and the stabbing happened accidentally in a struggle when he tried to defend himself – but that was rejected by the jury at Leeds Crown Court yesterday who unanimously convicted him of murder after seven hours of deliberation.

Sentencing him to life in prison and ordering he serve a minimum of 17 years before being considered for release, the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC said Mr Choudary was much more than an uncle to him.

"You regarded him as being your father. He held that role from about the age of six until you married and since your divorce you lived with him from time to time.

"He had always provided you with a home and when you had no one else he was there to provide for you and to try and steer you away from trouble."

Aziz was jailed for eight years in 2005 for supplying drugs and two offences of wounding with intent when he took a wooden handled scythe and injured two people who owed him a drug debt.

The judge said on his release on licence in December last year he had initially stayed at probation hostel before going to live at his uncle's flat on January 8 because once again he wanted to help him.

When Mr Choudary drank whisky it changed his personality from his normal kind, generous, big hearted character to become emotional argumentative and aggressive, while Judge Collier said Aziz too had a "wicked temper".

"Those who knew you both were concerned what would happen if you went to live with him, tragically in the early hours of January 18 their worst fears were realised."

Both had taken drink and there was a disagreement. Aziz was overheard calling his uncle a liar shortly before Mr Choudary's carelink alarm was activated and his girlfriend found him bleeding in the hallway of his home after she had seen Aziz drive away.

The judge said the jury had decided the stabbing was not in self defence and it was an aggravating feature that his uncle was vulnerable because of health problems including diabetes and arthritis.

Hours later, having taken more drink, Aziz was arrested in Saltaire – after punching another man in the face and chasing him into a charity shop.

The judge said he had not taken into account in sentencing the fact that Aziz had been acquitted some years ago of an assault on his uncle after his wife had allegedly given him a false alibi.

He said taking a life had many consequences robbing a family of a much-loved member, in this case it had also divided them since Aziz was also a family member.

Simon Bourne-Arton QC, defending Aziz, said most of the time the two men had a very close relationship but drink had clearly played its part in what had happened that night.

After the hearing, Detective Superintendent Paul Taylor of West Yorkshire Police's homicide and major enquiry team said: "We are aware that this continues to be a difficult time for the families of all those involved, they have shown tremendous dignity throughout.

"I hope that today goes some way towards bringing some kind of closure to them."