THE mastermind behind a bungled burglary that ended in the fatal shooting of a female police officer will finally face justice after nearly 20 years.

Piran Ditta Khan, 75, was found guilty of the murder of 38-year-old Sharon Beshenivsky by a jury at Leeds Crown Court today.

He was also found guilty of two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and two counts of possession of a prohibited weapon.

He pleaded guilty to robbery.

PC Beshenivsky was shot “at almost point-blank range” by one of three men with a 9mm self-loading pistol, outside Universal Travel Express, in Morley Street, Bradford on November 18, 2005.

Her injury was “immediately fatal” a court heard but her colleague, PC Teresa Milburn, who was responding to a panic alarm at the travel agents alongside PC Beshenivsky and was also shot, survived.

Five men from the gang that day were convicted almost two decades ago, with another jailed in 2009 after being on the run.

The seventh – Khan – is the last of the group who embarked on that fatal robbery, where his role was “pivotal”, the court heard.

He was the organiser of the criminal escapade, knowing loaded firearms – the pistol and a MAC-10 submachine gun – were to be carried, and where the three cars involved were to be positioned.

He was responsible for the three men who carried out the robbery – Muzzaker Shah and two brothers Mustaf Jama and Yusuf Jama – and communication, “on his order”.

He remained in the car with driver, Hassan Razzaq, but the prosecution argued this did “not diminish his role” in the events.

Robert Smith KC, for the prosecution, said in his opening statement: “Eventually all of the men were arrested by police and brought to trial with one exception, that exception was the defendant in this case.”

Khan fled the country just two months after the killing, getting on a flight from London Heathrow to Islamabad on January 22, 2006.

The prosecution said Khan’s departure "can only be explained as having been motivated by his fear that the police investigation into the murder of Sharon Beshenivsky was closing in on him”.

Seven days after PC Beshenivsky’s murder, West Yorkshire Police issued a press release in relation to Shah, with his picture released in a number of national newspapers.

The day after, Yusuf Jama was arrested in Birmingham, while Shah was detained on December 12, 2005.

Razzaq, his brother Faisal Razzaq and Raza Ul-Haw Aslam – the two lookouts on the operation – were arrested in London on February 1, 2006, only 10 days after Khan fled to Pakistan.

Khan was originally from the country but had been a resident in the UK with family members since he was 18, working and living in Bradford for many years.

It is thought Khan – known as “Uncle” by the gang – went to a remote village in his homeland.

Waqas Yousaf, managing director of Universal Express in December 2006, said at that time that Khan, a former customer at the travel agents, was reported to have turned to religion, grown a beard, and be helping to rebuild a mosque in Pakistan.

The first photo of Khan was obtained and published by the Telegraph & Argus at the end of December 2006, when he was one of two suspects on the run.

The other was Mustaf Jama, who escaped to Somalia but was seized in 2007 and brought back to the UK to face justice.

In 2009 a poster offering a £20,000 reward was released in Pakistan by police trying to trace him, and West Yorkshire officers renewed their appeal in 2016.

Khan remained at liberty until January 2020, when he was arrested and detained by the Pakistan Authority, after a request from the British Government.

He had reportedly been leading a “millionaire lifestyle” in the country's capital before being detained.

After his arrest, Khan appeared in an Islamabad court, where his extradition was discussed and he asked to be tried in his home country.

Khan told his trial he initially went to Pakistan for his son’s wedding but did not return after “getting scared” when he saw news reports saying he was a wanted man.

West Yorkshire Police said in March 2023 it was continuing to "vigorously pursue" his extradition back to the UK.

Khan was returned on April 12, 2023, by officers from the region’s police force.

He was 57 at the time of PC Beshenivsky’s murder. At the age of 75 today, he was told by Mr Justice Hilliard: “The only sentence for murder is imprisonment for life, I have to set the minimum term."

Gerry Sutcliffe, who was Bradford South MP for Labour and Home Office minister back then, said he would “do everything” to help bring Khan to justice.

Detective Superintendent Andy Brennan, who led the case and was in court during points of the trial despite being retired, promised he would bring the whole gang to justice.

Khan now faces that justice.