THREE youths are in custody for a second day after being arrested on suspicion of murdering Gurmail Singh.
The two 17-year-old and an 18-year-old, all from Huddersfield, will be questioned by detectives from West Yorkshire Police’s homicide and major enquiry team (HMET) over the death of the popular shopkeeper at Cowcliffe Convenience Stores.
The trio are also being quizzed in connection with a robbery at the shop on Thursday last week, as well as his killing.
Their arrests yesterday morning followed what senior investigator Det Supt Dave Pervin called a “tremendous response” from the public in the aftermath of Saturday night’s incident.
He added that forensic evidence was proving vital to the investigation.
“These men have been arrested as a result of the tremendous public response to my earlier appeals for information,” he said.
“Forensic examinations of the scene and of articles discarded by those responsible when fleeing the scene have been extremely thorough and painstaking.
“From those examinations I am encouraged that scientists have been able to develop strong forensic evidence that will assist in implicating those who were involved.
“We were able to fast-track forensic evidence and have now moved into a phase of the investigation where we have commenced enquiries to locate, question and eliminate or arrest potential suspects.”
Mr Singh, 63, a father-of-three, was found in a pool of his blood at the Cowcliffe Hill Road shop after an alleged raid by a gang of four youths.
He died from serious head injuries after suffering nine blows with a weapon, probably a hammer.
Det Supt Pervin was keen to stress the investigation was not over and appealed to the public for continued help. He also issued a message directly to the killers that the net was closing in.
“Although we have made these arrests I must stress that it is not known at this time if those arrested were involved in either the murder or the earlier robbery,” he said.
“At this stage no charges have been brought and I will give a further update as things develop.
“My appeal for any information in this investigation stands and it is imperative that we still receive information from the public into the incident room.
“Anyone who has any information or suspicions that will assist in the investigation should continue to contact the police and share that information.
“To those involved in the murder, they know who they are.
“The spotlight is already directly upon them and I would call on them to do the right thing and hand themselves in now before we knock at their door and arrest them.”
Police want to hear from locals with private CCTV.
The detective asked for householders and businesses with footage of between Thursday and Monday to contact the investigation team.
“Such material could be very beneficial to our enquiries and provide crucial evidence,” he said.
Anyone with information should call police on 0845 6060606 or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555111. They can also text 07786 200805.