'Casino killer' stalked gambler after watching him win £3,000 before stabbing him to death in brutal robbery and boasting to friends 'drinks are on me'
Mohammed Muqtar was handed a life term after stabbing a gambler to death who had won £3,000 at a casino
A man has been handed a life term after stabbing a gambler to death who had won £3,000 at a casino.
Mohammed Muqtar, 25, was found guilty of murdering Shaspal Singh Bahra, 46, following a five-day trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
Muqtar, from Birmingham, went to the Gala Casino on Hill Street in the city centre with the intention of identifying a victim who had won money last May.
Mr Bahra cashed in his £3,000 winnings and left the casino. Muqtar followed him and fatally stabbed him with a knife. Later that night he called friends asking if they wanted
When one declined as he was short of money Muqtar told him 'not to worry', saying to another friend that 'the drinks are on me'.
Judge Melbourne Inman QC handed Muqtar a life sentence and ordered him to serve a minimum of 30 years in prison, the Crown Prosecution Service said.
Following the sentencing on Friday, Rukhsana Mohammed, from the West Midlands CPS, said: 'This was a planned robbery where brutal violence was used which led to the death of Sashpal Bahra.
'Mohammed Muqtar was captured by CCTV cameras entering the Gala Casino on Hill Street in Birmingham city centre with what we believe was the sole purpose of identifying a victim who had won money in the casino. The victim who he identified that night was Mr Bahra.
'Once Mr Bahra had cashed in his £3,000 winnings, he left the casino and headed home. Muqtar followed the victim and then attacked him.
'The victim fought back and the defendant stabbed him a number of times using a knife he was carrying with him. One of these stab wounds proved fatal and Mr Bahra was pronounced dead at the scene.
'This was a very tragic case where Mr Bahra should have been celebrating, but instead his family and friends have been left grieving for their loss. Our thoughts today are with them and we extend our deepest sympathy.'
Post-mortem tests revealed Mr Bahra had received multiple stab wounds including one to his heart.
The court heard how Muqtar went to the Gala Casino in Birmingham city centre with the intention of identifying a victim who had won money
Following the conviction on Friday, Detective Sergeant Rob Bastin, from West Midlands Police, said: 'Witnesses described Muqtar as a frequent gambler who was short of money and was becoming increasingly desperate; he saw Mr Bahra collecting winnings and then ruthlessly and needlessly stabbed him to death. The level of violence he used in order to steal the money was grotesque.
'He showed a breathtaking lack of remorse for his actions - in fact within hours of taking someone’s life was actively looking to spend his victim’s money on a drunken night out and boasting about his new-found wealth.
'Muqtar lied throughout, initially giving false details to arresting officers, and three days after the murder and fearing police were closing in he sent a panicked text to his mother in which he wrote ‘help get me out of the UK’.
Det Sgt Bastin continued: 'This was a callous murder driven by greed. Mr Bahra was a hard working, law abiding man who was on a night out minding his own business. Our thoughts are with Mr Bahra’s friends and family and hopefully they can take some comfort by today’s verdict and the fact that the killer will spend much of his life behind bars.'
Paying tribute to his brother, Kirpal Singh Bahra, said: 'Mohammed Muqtar did not just murder anyone, he murdered a wonderful son, brother, uncle and dear friend.
'He was loved by many and was taken away so meaninglessly and so brutally.'
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