Mastermind 'hiding in village'

First published in Feeds by

The man said to be the architect' of the robbery that led to the murder of PC Sharon Beshenivsky is hiding in a remote village in Pakistan, it is claimed.

Prime suspect Piran Ditta Khan, who is one of two men still being hunted by police for the officer's killing, is said to be living in Kiri Afghanan in the Jhelum district of the north of the country, according to the robbery victims.

He is reported to have turned to religion, grown a beard and is helping to rebuild a mosque.

Khan, who is thought to be in his mid 50s, was referred to as the robbery mastermind Uncle Pete during the trial which this week resulted in four gang members being convicted of PC Beshenivsky's killing.

Faris Khokhar, whose family owns the Universal Express travel agents in Morley Street, which was the scene of the fatal raid, said: "We told the police he was there straight away.

"They have known where he is for a long time."

Faris's brother, Waqas Yousaf, said: "We don't know why they haven't just gone and picked him up from there.

"The police work with the authorities in Pakistan all the time to get people wanted for crimes, I don't know why this should be any different.

He added: "He is in Pakistan waiting to see what the outcome of the trial is. He wants to return to England."

A member of Khan's family in Bradford told how he had turned to crime as a way of getting rich after moving to the city from Pakistan when he was 18.

"He worked long hours seven days a week in the mills and regularly came home with blisters on his hands," said the family member who is afraid to be identified.

"His head was turned by money and he was obsessed by ways of getting rich quickly.

"A girlfriend of his had a brother who was a well-known robber and that is when it all started going wrong."

Khan's wife and six children live in north London. He is reported to be a martial arts expert who enjoyed kick boxing and worked as a doorman in clubs in Bradford during the 1980s.

"Most of his family do not speak to him," said Mr Yousaf. "He is not popular. They have all turned against him and are ashamed of what he has become.

"He has brought great shame on the family."

Detective Superintendent Andy Brennan, who is leading the murder inquiry, said: "We can confirm that West Yorkshire Police want to speak to Piran Ditta Khan in connection with this inquiry.

"However we will not be going into further details about where our inquiries are taking us.

"This investigation is not yet complete and we intend to ensure that all outstanding suspects are arrested and placed before the courts."

A Home Office spokesman said: "We are not in a position to confirm or deny an extradition request prior to an arrest."

Khan's brother Shafiq Hussain, 47, of north London, insisted that he was innocent.

Mr Hussain said his brother flew out to Pakistan on April 11.

But he insisted: "He went to visit one of his sons. His trip was nothing to do with the robbery."

He added: "He does not have anything to do with this, he is too old and respectable."

Mr Hussain said the family had often used the Universal Express travel agency to send money home as it was run by people they knew.

He said: "They were from near where we lived in Pakistan. We often used their business to send money back home."

The other wanted man, Mustaf Jamma, 26, is believed to have fled to his homeland of Somalia.

By Jennifer Sugden

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