A FATHER has lodged an appeal to have his teenage son’s murder conviction quashed in a move which will cost many thousands of pounds.
Mohammad Shafi’s eldest son, 18-year-old Nabeel, is facing a life sentence after he and an accomplice were found guilty of battering shopkeeper Gurmail Singh to death.
Now the family is appealing through their solicitor against the conviction in a move which could cost company director Mr Shafi up to £30,000.
The 61-year-old father-of-four said: “The person is important, not the money. This will take several months, possibly up to a year but the papers are lodged with the High Court.
“To lodge an appeal you have to have valid points and evidence.’’
He said his son was shocked when he was found guilty at Leeds Crown Court last month.
“He could hardly speak after the verdict,’’ he said.
Gurmail Singh, 63, was attacked for just a few pounds, some sweets, alcohol and cigarettes during a bungled raid at his shop in Cowcliffe in February.
Nabeel, of Park Hill in Bradley and Muawaz Khalid, 20, of Blackmoorfoot Road in Crosland Moor, will be sentenced next week for murder and robbery.
The other three involved in the raid were cleared of murder.
Umare Aslam, 20, and Rehman Afzal, 18, will be sentenced for robbery while Shoaib Khan, 18, will be sentenced for assisting an offender.
None of the former gang now talk to one another.
Mr Shafi, who owns tyre sealant company Tyreseal at Longroyd Bridge, accepts his son was involved in robbing the shop but is convinced he is not a murderer.
He has launched an appeal to the High Court to have the conviction quashed or reduced to manslaughter.
He claims to have important evidence from the scene that was not considered during the trial.
Mr Shafi said: “One hundred percent I feel shamed in front of people for what has happened.
“Nabeel cries to us on the phone now from prison about it.
“His mother and me constantly ask him. Why did he go to the shop that day?
“Why didn’t he say ‘no’? We are very ashamed of what he has done but we believe him that he never hit Mr Singh.”
Mr Shafi claims he didn’t know his son was involved at all until the police came to the family home to arrest him.
He collapsed when he heard the news and was rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack.
“He never told us anything, he just kept quiet,’’ he said. “If he had told us what had happened we would have taken him along to the police station ourselves.
“We are very sympathetic with Mr Singh’s family because obviously they have been destroyed by what happened like our family.
“All these boys’ families have been destroyed by what has happened.
“We cannot sleep at night thinking about it and we have to take pills for depression.
“I cannot work a full day because I cannot concentrate because it is always in my mind.
“We thought about moving away from this town but my daughter is still studying at Huddersfield University.”
Mr Shafi said: “Nabeel was going to take over my business when he had finished his IT course.
“He was great on the computer – he used to sit at the desk in my office on the computer.
“But now when I look at the computer and he’s not there it makes me cry and when my wife and I look at photos of him we break down.
“When I go home to my other children they do not smile – but I have to be strong for them.”
Mr Shafi, originally from Pakistan, lives in Bradley with his wife Sultana and three other children.
He said Nabeel’s siblings are struggling to come to terms with what’s happened and his teenage son, who goes to Huddersfield New College, was punched in the face after getting into an argument about Nabeel.
Mr Shafi, who is a presenter on community radio station Radio Paigham, said the family have been “torn apart”.