Mastermind behind raid that saw Pc Sharon Beshenivsky shot dead to be sentenced

The mastermind behind a bungled armed robbery that saw a police officer shot dead is to be sentenced for her murder.

Pc Sharon Beshenivsky was gunned down in the street on her daughter’s fourth birthday while interrupting a raid at Universal Express travel agents in Bradford, West Yorkshire, in November 2005.

She and her colleague, Pc Teresa Milburn, who were both unarmed, were shot at point-blank range by one of the three men who had just carried out the robbery.

Almost two decades on, the gang’s ringleader, Piran Ditta Khan, became the last of the seven men involved in the robbery to be convicted in April this year.

WPC Sharon Beshenivsky murder
Piran Ditta Khan being taken into custody at Elland Road Police Station in April 2023 (West Yorkshire Police/PA)

Leeds Crown Court heard that although Khan did not leave the safety of a lookout car throughout the raid, he played a “pivotal” role in planning it and knew loaded weapons would be used.

Prosecutors said this made him guilty of Pc Beshenivsky’s murder “as surely as if he had pulled the trigger himself”.

Khan is due to be sentenced on Friday by Mr Justice Hilliard.

During the trial, jurors heard Khan was the only one of the group who was familiar with Universal Express and had used them in the past to send money to family.

He flew to Pakistan two months after Pc Beshenivsky’s death and remained at liberty there until he was arrested by Pakistani authorities in January 2020 and then extradited to the UK last year.

Khan told jurors he did not know that a robbery was going to be carried out, or that weapons were going to be taken.

He claimed he was owed £12,000 by Universal Express’s owner and that debt collector Hassan Razzaq, who was later convicted of manslaughter over Pc Beshenivsky’s death, had offered to help get his money back. Prosecutors said there was no evidence of this.

The court heard Pc Beshenivsky’s injury was immediately fatal. Pc Milburn, who activated her personal radio and called for help as she was coughing up blood, survived her injuries after hospital treatment.

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