Bradford man admits shopkeeper killing

File photo dated 26/3/2016 of the shop where Asad Shah worked in Shawlands, Glasgow as Tanveer Ahmed has pleaded guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to murdering the respected businessman. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday July 7, 2016. Shah, 40, who ran a convenience store in the city's Shawlands area, died following an attack by 32-year-old  Ahmed on March 24. See PA story COURTS Shopkeeper. Photo credit should read: John Linton/PA Wire
File photo dated 26/3/2016 of the shop where Asad Shah worked in Shawlands, Glasgow as Tanveer Ahmed has pleaded guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to murdering the respected businessman. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday July 7, 2016. Shah, 40, who ran a convenience store in the city's Shawlands area, died following an attack by 32-year-old Ahmed on March 24. See PA story COURTS Shopkeeper. Photo credit should read: John Linton/PA Wire

A MAN has admitted murdering Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah.

Mr Shah, 40, who ran a convenience store in the city’s Shawlands area, died following an attack by 32-year-old Tanveer Ahmed on March 24.

Asad Shah the shopkeeper who died after he was attacked outside his store in Glasgow

Asad Shah the shopkeeper who died after he was attacked outside his store in Glasgow

Ahmed, from Bradford in West Yorkshire, pleaded guilty at the High Court in Glasgow to murdering the respected businessman, who was described by his family as a “brilliant” man.

Mr Shah, an Ahmadi Muslim who moved from Pakistan to Glasgow in 1998, was discovered outside his shop on Minard Road with stab wounds and taken to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Hours before the attack, he had wished Christians a “very happy Easter” on Facebook.

Police said from the outset that they believed the attack was religiously prejudiced.

Mr Shah’s customers and friends flocked to the store the day after the attack to lay flowers and tributes to the shopkeeper they described as a “pillar of the community” and a “wonderful and gentle man”.

Hundreds turned out for a candlelit vigil that evening, including First Minister and local MSP Nicola Sturgeon, and donations to an online fundraiser for his family quickly topped £100,000.

Taxi driver Ahmed, a Muslim from Bradford’s Toller area, was arrested and following a court hearing in April he released a statement through his lawyer saying Mr Shah had “disrespected the message of the Prophet Muhammad”.

He said the shopkeeper “claimed to be a prophet” and that “if I had not done this others would”.

Mr Shah’s relatives said a person’s religion, ethnicity or race never mattered to the shopkeeper, who treated everyone with kindness and respect.

The family said after his killing: “He was a brilliant man, recognising that the differences between people are vastly outweighed by our similarities.

“Asad left us a tremendous gift and we must continue to honour that gift by loving and taking care of one another.”

The court heard that Ahmed, a Sunni Muslim, drove from Bradford to Glasgow on March 24 and engaged in a discussion with Mr Shah at his store before pulling out a knife and attacking the shopkeeper.

En route to Glasgow he had watched online footage of Mr Shah and made the comment “something needs to be done, it needs nipped in the bud”.

Mr Shah fled violence in Pakistan to join his family in Scotland in 1998 and was granted asylum.

Ahmadis differ from the majority of Muslims in that they do not hold that Muhammad is the final Prophet, the court heard.

Evidence gathered showed that Mr Shah had posted videos on Facebook and YouTube which could be seen as him claiming that he was a Prophet.

“It so offended his feelings and faith that he had to kill him,” advocate deputy Iain McSporran said.

Judge Lady Rae told Ahmed, who will be sentenced on August 9: “This was a truly despicable crime, motivated, it seems, by your sense of offence at a man’s expression of his religious beliefs, which differ from yours.

“Let me be clear - there’s no justification whatsoever for what you did.”

The court heard that Mr Shah was a “well-known and clearly much-loved member of the community”.

Prosecutor Mr McSporran stressed that the Facebook posting wishing Christians a happy Easter had no bearing on the crime, however.